Why I long to sack some judges, as Mahathir once did
Mariam Mokhtar Published: 8:31 am | Modified: 8:33 am
Earlier this year, Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that he would present ministers with report cards to evaluate their performance. Will he do the same for the judges?
One court delay is bad. Two is a coincidence but three is a trend. So, what is happening in the judges’ chambers?
It does not feel as if disgraced Najib Abdul Razak is on trial. In the eyes of the public, the judges are.
After last week’s palaver when Najib’s trial was postponed yet again, the judges must think that they can pull the wool over our eyes.
Najib’s lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, said that his son’s wedding had been brought forward to Thursday, Feb 20.
If his son could not be bothered to tell his father, well in advance about the change of dates, why should the court entertain Shafee’s sudden request to postpone the trial?
There is a saying, “Ignorance of the law excuses no one”. Similarly, ignorance of a change in wedding dates is not the nation’s problem.
Najib appointed several lawyers. Are they all invited to the wedding? Is Shafee’s office closed?
Couples take months to prepare for their wedding. The wedding venue has to be booked and paid for, invitation cards must be designed and posted, the material for the couple’s wedding outfit, as well as for the pengapit (best man and bridesmaid) have to be ordered and sent for tailoring.
The caterers, florists, PA system and buses to transport rural relatives need to be ordered.
A person like Shafee would demand only the best. When Shafee’s son, Farhan, said that his wedding date had been brought forward, are we to believe that all the detailed wedding plans, were trashed, just so the couple could marry on the auspicious date of 20-02-2020?
Has Farhan not heard of a calendar? His ignorance does not bode well for remembering auspicious dates like anniversaries and birthdays.
Shafee also said he was not aware that he was involved in the wedding preparations, but in the next breath said, “They have this Penang Malay culture called tarian semarak. Luckily, I am not the one to perform.”
We can assume that Shafee’s preparation was to learn the dance moves, but he confirmed that he is not performing. So, how is his presence required?
In my experience of Malay weddings, the males are rarely involved in the preparations. The womenfolk are the decision-makers.
The men do two things. They open their wallets and have an influence on the wedding venue, whether to have their child’s wedding at home, a hotel, a dewan (community hall) or erect tents in the garden. This decision is theirs, as they have to foot the bill.
The only occasion which a man has complete control is his decision to marry a young wife, without his first wife’s permission.
He then has to arrange a wedding in southern Thailand, in one of the country’s many one-stop-syariah-shops, which can arrange for a kadi, witnesses and a honeymoon suite.
Another reason to doubt Shafee’s excuse is that many Malays pay eye-watering amounts to wedding planners to take the pain away when planning their child’s wedding. Has Shafee not engaged a wedding planner?
With three wives and the accompanying sets of in-laws, why can’t they play happy families and help in the preparations?
The judges are setting a dangerous precedent by allowing preferential treatment for Shafee. We also wonder if the length of the delays of Najib’s trial exceeds the number of days in which he has appeared in court.
More importantly, the rakyat wonder why people like Najib and his wife, the self-styled former First Lady of Malaysia (FLOM), Rosmah Mansor, are allowed to bend the judges to their will.
If they can delay their trials with apparent ease, will others use the same tactics? How productive is our judicial system? How confident are we of their capability?
One way of stopping these delays is to revoke the bails for Najib and Rosmah and keep both on remand. The spartan conditions of a cell, the wearing of an orange suit and the leg-irons (optional) would ensure that Najib would beg to have his trial over and done with quickly.
The wedding, which took place in Penang on Feb 20, took precedence over a public interest trial. Once again, the courts have played into Najib’s hands. We should be angry with Najib, but we are more furious with the judges.
Cast your mind back to the constitutional crisis of 1988, when Mahathir suspended a few judges and amended the Constitution.
The PM is not in many people’s good books now and he may be reluctant to meddle again.
That is why I say that I long to sack some judges for wasting the rakyat’s time, the reporters’ time, the court’s time, the policemen’s time and taxpayers’ money.
One is beginning to think that the judicial system is also part of the “Deep State”, which is alleged to be Najib’s fifth column.
If Pakatan Harapan wants our mandate to lead the nation, they must first control all of the elements within the “Deep State”.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.