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Malay NGO seeks return of judicial freedom

 | February 24, 2012

The Penang Malay Congress says ex-chief judge Dzaiddin was right, Mahathir was wrong.

GEORGE TOWN: A Malay pressure group has added its voice to the chorus calling for the restoration of judicial independence.

Responding to a recent speech by former chief justice Mohd Dzaiddin Abdullah, the Penang Malay Congress (PMC) today urged the government to amend Article 121 of the Federal Constitution to remove constraints to judicial powers.

PMC secretary Mohd Noor Mohd Abdul Kader said it was the responsibility of the current Umno-helmed federal government to restore the public esteem enjoyed by the judiciary before 1988.

Echoing others who have bemoaned what some have called the current “incestuous relationship” between the judiciary and the executive arms of government, he laid the blame on former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said Mahathir compromised the “independence, integrity and dignity” of the judiciary in order to safeguard his position as Umno president.

“It’s Umno’s duty now to right the wrong,” he added.

In his speech at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Memorial on Feb 10, Mohd Dzaiddin said judges had become subservient to ruling politicians since Article 121 was amended in 1988.

“Mohd Dzaiddin’s statement was realistic even though it was 24 years late,” Mohd Noor told FMT, laughing off a denial by Dr Mahathir.

He said constant political interference into judicial affairs had undermined the credibility, integrity and independence of judiciary, and eroded public confidence in it.


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