Monday, June 23, 2008

Demahacracy - the warped democracy

 

Shortly  after I published my open reply to Dr Mahathir on the Salleh Abas saga, Justice Ian Chin made his shocking revelation about how Dr Mahathir had allegedly threatened Judges at a conference. Justice Ian Chin further alleged that he was sent to a "boot camp".  According to His Lordship, the boot camp was without doubt  "an attempt to indoctrinate those attending the boot camp to hold the view that the government interest as being more important than all else when we are considering our judgement”.

Dr Mahathir of course denied the accusation. A startling revelation however came out from his denial. He somewhat candidly revealed that Judges were actually made to attend "courses on Tatanegara or National Creed at work camps". For ease of reference, the followings are what he actually said:

"As for the boot camp, our military forces may have it. But what we did have were courses on "Tata Negara" or "National Creed" at work camps. At such courses the speakers try to explain Malaysia's political system with particular reference to the BN concept, ethics and moral values and democracy in Malaysia. Participants included civil servants, corporate leaders, politicians and university staff. I suppose judges also attended. For three to five days the participants stayed at the camps and followed certain programs. This included getting up very early in the morning (for prayers for Muslims), physical exercises and many hours of lectures. One of the chores was to wash your own dirty plates after a simple meal. When I gave talks at these work camps I too wash my dirty dishes. It was part of leadership by example. Thousands of people from all walks of life attended these work camps. There were hardly any complaints. I was told by a judge who was in the same batch as Chin J that he absconded before the course was over. Perhaps he did not like getting up early and washing his own dirty plates".

How very interesting. I have hinted in my open reply to Dr Mahathir that he had at least misunderstood the doctrine of separation of powers. To ask Judges to attend a work camp together with civil servants, corporate leaders, politicians and university staffs where they are made to hear lectures on "Malaysia's political system with particular reference to the BN concept, ethics and moral values and democracy in Malaysia" is demeaning to say the least. Quite why Judges needed to be lectured on "BN's concept, ethics and moral values" at a work camp together with civil servants and others is just beyond me. Call it by any other name, but to me, it sounds like an indoctrination to the ways of the BN in general, and UMNO in particular. To lump the Judges in a basket together with civil servants is in itself a display of complete lack of understanding, if not education, of the doctrine of separation of powers and democracy in general. In fact, it is arguably contemptuous of our judicial system.

I can imagine days will come when Judges are made to attend "work camp" organised by Bank Negara together with CEOs of CIMB, Maybank, Public Bank et al where they will be lectured on "Malaysia's banking system with particular reference to BN concept, ethics and moral values and Islamic banking in Malaysia". Or how about a work camp organised by Polis Di Raja Malaysia where Judges will be lectured on "Malaysia's detention without trial law with particular reference to BN concept, ethics and moral values". 

To make it more interesting, let's have a role reversal. May I suggest that the Chief Justice invite the cabinet Ministers, politicians (present ones and also retired ones), UMNO leaders (present and past), corporate leaders and civil servants to a work camp at Istana Keadilan (ooops...sorry, it should be Palace Of Justice) where they could be lectured on "Malaysia's democracy system with particular reference to the doctrine of separation of powers and the concept of ethical leadership and moral values in government practices". I am sure Dr Mahathir would be pleased to attend and learn something entirely new. Or would he abscond after the first day?

A couple of days later, a former Supreme Court Judge, Azmi Kamarudin, who was one of the Judges who were suspended by Dr Mahathir in the 1988 judiciary debacle, was quoted by Malaysiakini as saying that Dr Mahathir had wanted to control the judiciary. He was reported as saying:

"I felt that he wanted to rule like a dictator. He (Mahathir) was already the head of legislature (and) he wanted the judiciary to be under his control as well. That was his intention."

The ex Supreme Court Judge also said that Dr Mahathir had wanted to amend Article 121 of the Federal Constitution. For the benefit of readers who are not familiar with the Federal Constitution, Article 121 of the Federal Constitution deals with the establishment of the Courts in Malaysia. It also spells out the powers of the Courts in general term. I will touch on this later in this post.

Meanwhile, Salleh Abas, while accepting the ex gratia payment from the present administration, in an obvious reference to the 1988 judicial debacle, said in a video interview with Malaysiakini, that "if you destroy the judiciary, you destroy democracy, and if you destroy democracy, you usher in a dictatorship, clothed with the cloth of rule of law and justice, but in reality, it is like a hungry tiger, clothed in a lamb skin".

Dr Mahathir was obviously unhappy with the statements made by Azmi and Salleh. Of course he had to response. In true Mahathir fashion, he let go a reply which is as ridiculous as it is ludicrous. According to him, the Judges were bribed to say bad things about him!

Well, I should have prefaced this post by saying that I am not paid by any party to write this article. Just for the avoidance of any doubt.

Anyway, what can we expect from Dr Mahathir other than senseless vitriolic nowadays. The man is desperate for support for his own twisted agenda. He has tried criticising and he failed. He has tried to appear at the UMNO General Assembly last year but he was thwarted, wrongly or rightly. He has left UMNO altogether and he failed to get any supports except from his wife and one of his sons. Even his own son, Mukhriz, defies him. And now he  tries blogging. From the comments he is getting, we all could conclude that he is rather loved by his readers. In fact, "love" is a understatement. "Idolise" is more like it. And guess what, he is also on Facebook nowadays. Like, oh wow!

And so, it would appear, at least in Mahathirsville that Azmi Kamaruddin and Salleh Abas have been bribed by the present government to say bad things about him. But history never lies. History is replete with facts. And facts are undeniable. Because they are there for all to see. Let's all of us look at the facts and decide whether Dr Mahathir and his government had in fact amended Article 121 of the Federal Constitution. And if so, what was, and still is, the nett result of such amendment?

Article 121 of the Federal Constitution deals with the establishment of the Court in Malaysia. Not too long ago, in a land where everybody knows their respective rights, Article 121 used to look like this:

Article 121:

(1)     Subject to Clause (2) the judicial power of the Federation shall be vested into High Courts of co- ordinate jurisdiction and status, namely-

(a) one of the States of Malaya, which shall be known as the High Court in Malaya and shall have its principle registry in Kuala Lumpur; and

(b) one in the States of Sabah and Sarawak, which shall be known as the High Court in Borneo and shall have its principle registry at such place in the States of Sabah and Sarawak as the Yang di- Pertuan Agong may determine; (emphasis added by me).

Note above that the original Article 121 vests judicial powers with the High Court. That means judicial powers is within the realm of the High Courts and this is provided for by the Federal Constitution, which is the mother of all the laws in our country. A part of the judicial powers which is very important in any democratic country within the Commonwealth is the power of judicial review. This is the power of the High Courts to review any decision taken by the government against its citizen. There are 4 powers of judicial review, namely, certiorari (the power to reverse and quash any government decision); mandamus (the power to compel the government to do certain act); prohibition (the power to stop the government from doing certain act) and habeas corpus (the power to order the production and release of a citizen who has been wrongly detained). It doesn't take a genius to note that these powers are essential in order the check any exercise of powers or abuse thereof by any government. Without this powers, the government would be in a position to do anything it likes. There wouldn't be any check and balances. This is definitely the bulwark of any democracy.

Even in non-Commonwealth country, judicial powers are vested in the Courts. America for example has the same provision in Article iii of its Constitution. It provides as follows:

"The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish… The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution".

In my open reply to Dr Mahathir, I had referred to the case of the 2 journalists of the Asian Wall Street Journal, whose work permits were canceled by Dr Mahathir because he was obviously not happy with what they were writing about him and his government. The 2 journalists filed for judicial review. The Supreme Court held that Dr Mahathir's cancellation of their work permits were illegal and void. That case is an illustration of how the Courts exercised its judicial powers to check the exercise of powers by the government (or in legal parlance, the executive).

Dr Mahathir of course did not like this power very much. During Operasi Lalang for example, the Court had also issued a writ of habeas corpus for Karpal Singh to be produced in Court and released. Dr Mahathir of course viewed this as a transgression by the judiciary of his executive powers when what the Court was merely doing was to carry out its Constitutional functions of providing check and balance against the powers of the executive. This Dr Mahathir did not like one bit.

He, or rather, his government, amended Article 121 of the Federal Constitution to achieve his control over the judiciary. Article 121 now reads like this:

Article 121:

1) There shall be two High Courts of co-ordinate jurisdiction and status, namely -

(a) one in the States of Malaya, which shall be known as the High Court in Malaya and shall have its principal registry at such place in the States of Malaya as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may determine; and
(b) one in the States of Sabah and Sarawak, which shall be known as the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak and shall have its principal registry at such place in the States of Sabah and Sarawak as the Yang di- Pertuan Agong may determine;
(c)(Repealed),

and such inferior courts as may be provided by federal law and the High Courts and inferior courts shall have such jurisdiction and powers as may be conferred by or under federal law. (emphasis added by me).

So, it can be seen  that the Courts  now only have powers as specified by the federal law. Judicial powers are no more vested in the Courts. What it simply means is that the Courts now do not have the power of judicial review unless it is specifically said so by any law passed by the parliament (or the legistlature).  And who controlled the parliament during Dr Mahathir's rule? I will not waste my time in answering that question.

So, Dr Mahathir and his government controlled the legislature. Dr Mahathir and his party also controlled the executive. And the Federal Constitution was amended to provide that the Courts only have such powers as shall be conferred by the legislature. So, indirectly, the Courts can only do things which are allowed to be done by Dr Mahathir and his government who occupy the legistlature.

What is that called? It is called Demahacracy.

 

 

18 comments:

ruyom said...

New Cabinet:



Prime Minister - Anwar

Deputy Prime Minister - Lim Kit Siang

Agriculture Minister -

Community Minister -

Culture Minister - Farish Noor

Defence Minister - Azmin Ali

Education Minister - Nga Kor Ming

Environment Minister - Teresa Kok

Finance Minister - Tony Pua

Foreign Minister - Ramasamy

Health Minister - Tan Seng Giaw

Home Minister -

Information Minister - Jeff Ooi

Law Minister - Teng Chang Khim

Manpower Minister -

Sports Minister -

Technology Minister -

Trade Minister - Khalid

Transport Minister - Liew Chin Tong

Tourism Minister -

Anonymous said...

FACTS
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." John Adams

AL said...

May I publish an extract of your post in my website
http://mylivingwall.com and direct my readers to read your full post.

fyi, we publish selected blog posts of the day to help give multi perspective viewpoints to our readers.

Thank you.

mylivingwall.com

sharkpitt said...

I'm publishing an extract of your post in my website http://sharkpitt.blogspot.com and I'll direct my buddies to read your full post here?can ah?

don't sue me ok!cheers =P

Anonymous said...

Quote "To ask Judges to attend a work camp together with civil servants, corporate leaders, politicians and university staffs where they are made to hear lectures on "Malaysia's political system with particular reference to the BN concept, ethics and moral values and democracy in Malaysia" is demeaning to say the least"

Have u been in one of the camp before?? or u just assuming?? or heard from somebody else??

The Wise Guy said...

Like so many laws in mathematical equations...this I think is one of the latest... Mahathirism...

what is mine is mine
what is yours is also mine
what is not yours is also mine
what belongs to others are also mine
what doesn't belong to others is also mine

conclusion..

Everything is mine
Don't Ask any questions
Just Accept... QED

that's MAHATHIRISM

the whole country shud read this n WAKE UP hopefully

my two cents worth

haji muhammad bin abdullah @ tan wah guan

Kris said...

As always Art, your dissertations are insightful with a clarity of thought that is sorely lacking in the world at large.

Born2Reign said...

"According to him, the Judges were bribed to say bad things about him!"

If that can be case, this Mamak most likely bribed and paid illegal immigrants, students and slave-wannabes to shower his blogs with love letters.

Anonymous said...

Art,

Great piece of write up to dismantle Mahathir.

In fact, the reality is dismantling him as well, as more and more of his flaw surface these days. Now he is in the mode of plugging sinking ship (his legacy) with a bunch of idols.

He was thinking those were his supporters. He must be dreaming, the moment the light goes out, everyone go home, only important thing people had in mind is FOOTBALL.

The Phoenix Foundation said...

Spare me!
Yr diction & tenses are wrong!!!
I hope yr Bahasa is better{I am certain its not!}
Simply put: Ngeh now is a "Datuk" for what its worth!But can he deliver? I believe not becoz he has other plans!Just as all , I mean all DAP who want to manipulate all of us!

art harun said...

Dear Anonymous (who asked me whether I have been to the boot camp),

No, I have not been to any of the camp. I am not a Judge. Only Judges are invited. And no, I did not hear it from anybody or assuming things. I based my article on what DrM had actually said. I even quoted from his writing. Did you read my article? Which part of it you did not understand?

BTW, Judges were made to carry an egg and if they broke the egg, they were made o carry bricks! They were made to march and follow orders from junior officers. They were humiliated on the podium. They were holed up in the camp, totally cut out from the outside world without even newspaper to read. No, I am not assuming this. Neither am I making it up. And no, I wasn't there. If I was, someone would probably not be here anymore to tell you about the camp. Go and read it at Malaysiakini.

It makes a very disgusting reading indeed! As is usual with DrM, he only tells what he wants the people to hear.

So Mr/Ms/Tan Sri/Tun/Wutever Anonymous, go and read it for yourself. And in case you are wondering, I only tell facts. Because I am trained to look for facts, grasp them, analise them and make a conclusion from them.

Anonymous said...

Hi Arty,
Your posting is another disappointment. It is obvious that you have a personal axe to grind with Tun Dr. Mahathir and like your previous post on the Tun Salleh saga, you are full of hate. Hey Arty, take it easy or you will suffer a nervous breakdown very soon. Your posting is very manipulative (in legal terms, it is called leading the witness) in nature, filled with unsubstantiated allegations and very difficult to comprehend on the exact point that you are driving at.
There was no ‘startling revelation’; it was just an ordinary revelation about these “National Creed “work camps which I believe is applicable and known to all civil servants. What’s the big deal, Arty? Please don’t manipulate and dramatize when there is absolutely no need to!! With the way you go at it, it seems that Tun Dr. M have finally revealed some deep hidden secret that is totally sacred to Malaysians. What a load of rubbish!!

Next, we have this heavy stuff on the doctrine of separation of powers. Well, it sounds really powerful and far too serious for the ordinary people to comprehend. I guess that’s your intention considering the manipulative fetish that you have. Anyway, just to break down into simpler terms, what you are saying is that judges should not be made to attend work camps with other civil servants and government officers. I don’t see your reason at all. What’s the problem of judges attending work camps together with others? It’s not that their judgments will be affected or they will suffer from an inferiority complex as a result. Even His Royal Highness DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agung mixes with his rakyat now and then. I don’t see any reason why judges have to be treated differently. Let’s be clear about this doctrine of separation of powers. It doesn’t mean that judges cannot mix around and attend courses together with his fellow citizens. What it means is that the judiciary should remain independent and the executive have no influence in the judiciarys’ decisions. Of course you would always allege that there are executive interferences but then knowing your personal vendetta, you surprises no one. You then continue on about judges attending courses organized by Bank Negara or PDRM and the role reversal at Istana Keadilan. What a load of bullshit!!! Arty, it doesn’t make a difference as long as the courses are for information only and as long as the judges are able to exercise their judgment independently.
Continuing on with your blabber, you quoted a former supreme court judge who felt that Tun Dr M wanted to be a dictator……… and Tun Dr M wanted to amend Article 121 of the Federal Constitution …. . What’s your point?? Come on, that former supreme court judge is talking about his feelings, about how he feels. I have a lot of feelings about you Arty and if how I feel can become the truth then you would probably be confined to a mental hospital. Salleh Abbas can say all he wants but his credibility is already in tatters when he went ahead and took the ex-gratia payment. I would not say anymore about him.
Arty, I think you need to have your eyes checked, and since you are at it, you should have your mind check as well. This is because you are seeing things and imagining things as well.Tun Dr M did not said that judges were bribed to say bad things about him. I don’t know how you could come to such a conclusion. I guess my only answer is that you must be hallucinating!!! You are so desperate to run down Tun Dr M that you have to resort to senseless vitriolic to support your own twisted agenda. Arty, please be careful, you are on the verge of a nervous breakdown. It is true that Tun Dr M is idolized by his fellow citizens for all the good work that he has done. He will be even more popular when he appears on Facebook. Do you have a problem with that??
Now, for the heavy metal stuff about Article 121 of the Federal Constitution. It is replete with legal jargon such as certiorari, mandamus, habeaus corpus, etc. You take us on a ride back in time about these journalists from ASWJ and Time and why Tun Dr M was not happy with these two fellas and cancelled their work permits. These journalists filed for a judicial review and won. You go on to draw inference that because of these two journalists, the Federal Constitution was amended. Arty, I really hand it to you and your imagination to come up with such a preposterous conjecture that two foreign journalists can have such an influence on our country that our Federal Constitution have to be amended because of them. Judicial reviews come and go and the government can win and also loses. This is part and parcel of governing any country. It is just ludicrous to throw accusations after accusations based on inferences and conjectures and draw conclusions that the government amends the Federal Constitution whenever it faces a threat. Having said that, we must also bear in mind that the Federal Constitution cannot remain static and as such, the government of the day must live up to its responsibilities and amend the Federal Constitution whenever it deems necessary so as to keep up with social changes, technology changes and to face up to any challenges confronting our nation. What is that called? It is called Democracy. Not Demahacracy idiot!!

art harun said...

Hi Anon,

Thank you for such a long response to a disappointing post by me. I would love to see how long your response might be had it impressed you. :)

BTW, allow me to correct you a bit. My post, in legal jargon, is called res ipsa loquitor.

To quote you: "Having said that, we must also bear in mind that the Federal Constitution cannot remain static and as such, the government of the day must live up to its responsibilities and amend the Federal Constitution whenever it deems necessary so as to keep up with social changes, technology changes and to face up to any challenges confronting our nation. What is that called? It is called Democracy. Not Demahacracy idiot!!"

So now we know. DrM felt that the time had come for the judicial powers to rest with the Parliament and him, and not the judiciary. I see. Thank you for telling me.

Idiot or not, I still call it Demahacracy. Bonkers!

art harun said...

BTW, apparently my sentiment is shared.

http://www.malaysia-today.net/2008/content/view/9285/1/

Tsk tsk tsk .... disappointing indeed.

Anonymous said...

Hi Arty,

Yeah, I can see you are full of legal jargon shit but it would be helpful if you could have find some useful means for them. It's such an insult to see such beautiful phrases being manipulated in such a biased manner. Hey, you still don't get it, do you? You are even confusing your ownself now. That's why I had advised you to get your mind checked. You are really hallucinating aren't you? You are now talking about how Tun Dr M "feels" about amendments to the Federal Constitution. How Tun Dr M feels has nothing to do with any amendments to the Federal Government. Let's get this clear. Even if it is not Tun Dr M, any PM of the day would have amended the Federal Constitution whenever there is a need to. This is to safegaurd our nation and to accommodate for all the changes that comes along with time. If not, we would have to live in history while the rest of the world progresses. The question of whether Tun Dr M (or any PM for that matter) feels that the time has come to amend the Federal Constitution does not arise at all!!! As the saying goes, it will happen when it happens.
It is still democracy. Not demahacracy, and you are still an idiot!

Anonymous said...

BTW, put your posting onto http://www.bigdog.com and we will see whether your sentiments are shared or not.

Tsk, tsk, tsk .....such arrogance indeed!

art harun said...

Yea, right. It wasn't DrM who amended article 121. Who's hallucinating?

Anonymous said...

Hi Arty,
You are definitely hallucinating now!! You still don't get it, do you? It is not important who amended Article 121. That's why the question of who amended Article 121 does not arise at all!!! Any lawfully elected government can amend the Federal Constitution (including Article 121) as long as there is a need to do so and provided that it is for the good of the nation. So, what's your point now?? For you to suggest that Article 121 was amended because of 2 foreign journalists is simply hyperbole at its highest order!! Arty, governing a nation is no easy task. It calls for sacrifices by all parties in order to move the nation forward. Your wild allegations have no value and belittle the sacrifices made by all Malaysians.