Kim QuekMalaysia Today
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Why the Chief Justice is wrongChief Justice Fairuz Sheikh Halim has used dubious logic to refute allegations that the authority has appointed bad judges. He said judges were appointed and promoted according to the provisions of the Constitution. And since it is the same system of appointment that has yielded such illustrious judges in the past as previous Lord Presidents Sufian Hashim and Sultan Azlan Shah, the present judges by extension must also be good.
“If they (the former Lord Presidents) can be people of integrity, why can’t judges, who are appointed by the very same authority through the same procedure, have integrity too?” Fairuz asked during a judges conference on Aug 22.
The answer to that question is simple. Under our Constitution, it is the prime minister who decides on the appointment of judges, so it is only reasonable to expect that a good prime minister appoints good judges and a bad prime minister appoints bad judges. The illustrious judges so named by Fairuz were all appointed by former prime ministers who were eminently noted for their high integrity in an era gone by, whereas the chief justices who were embroiled in scandals were all appointed in more recent times during Mahathir’s reign.