From The Nut Graph
By Deborah Loh
KUALA LUMPUR, 12 Dec 2008: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) is defending the Malay rulers’ rights as part of efforts to balance the power currently concentrated in the executive, its vice-president R Sivarasa said.
He said two areas in the Federal Constitution ought to be reformed to reflect a â€œtrueâ€ constitutional monarchy. These involve the 1993 amendment that took away immunity from criminal and civil prosecution for the nine sultans, and another amendment the same year that removed the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong’s check-and-balance role on bills passed by Parliament.
From The Malaysian Inisder
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 â€” The High Court here dealt a blow today to attempts by two former chief justices, a prominent lawyer and two other people who were seeking to clear their names after being implicated in the now infamous V.K. Lingam video clip.
High Court judge Datuk Abdul Kadir Musa denied their application for a judicial review of the Royal Commission of Inquiry’s findings into the video clip.
From New Straits Times
By ZUBAIDAH ABU BAKAR
The Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat has never been a sure bet for any party, as both Pas and Umno know only too well. FIELDING winnable candidates is usually the top priority for political parties in any electoral battle.
This should also be the case with the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary by-election, scheduled for Jan 17. A total of 80,229 registered voters, comprising 79,194 ordinary voters and 1,035 postal voters, are expected to choose a new parliamentary representative following the death of deputy education minister Datuk Razali Ismail on Nov 28.
From New Straits Times
By : Chok Suat Ling
KUALA LUMPUR: Pop princess Datuk Siti Nurhaliza Tarudin is no longer tops in the hearts and minds of Malaysians, at least according to searches on Google Malaysia.
Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, and a host of other personalities have overtaken her as the subject of searches of famous personalities conducted on the website google.com.my this year.
Kami semua di International Crisis Group sangat bersedih dengan berita pemergian Penasihat Presiden Indonesia dan mantan Menteri Luar Ali Alatas, yang baru sahaja dipilih untuk menganggotai Lembaga Pemegang Amanah International Crisis Group. Beliau merupakan rakan kepada kebanyakan ahli lembaga pengarah dan kakitangan di sini. Kami merakamkan ucapan takziah kepada balu beliau, Junisa dan ahli keluarga beliau.
Ali Alatas terkenal sebagai seorang yang berhemah dan bijaksana, serta dihormati sebagai seorang negarawan ulung. Beliau memainkan peranan penting bagi memastikan proses peralihan yang lancar buat Indonesia, dari pemerintahan kuku besi tentera kepada sebuah negara demokrasi. Peranan beliau juga sangat penting di dalam membentuk ASEAN sebagai satu forum untuk mengekalkan keamanan dan kestabilan di rantau ini serta menjadi jambatan di antara negara membangun dengan negara maju melalui Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu dan forum-forum lainnya.
Saya secara peribadi merasakan kehilangan di atas pemergian saudara Ali. Beliau dan saya, sama-sama dilantik sebagai menteri luar pada tahun yang sama-1988- kami bekerjasama dengan erat bagi memulihkan hubungan di antara Australia dan Indonesia; sentiasa mencuba mencari jalan penyelesaian yang terbaik buat isu Timor Timur. Pendekatan beliau terhadap isu yang sukar itu membuatkan beliau dikenal sebagai seorang yang moderat(malah Jose Ramos Horta juga mengakuinya)dan suara konstruktif. Beliau menjalankan tugas di waktu sukar terutamanya di saat-saat akhir pemerintahan Suharto.
Beliau sentiasa berusaha untuk memastikan adanya tekanan dari luar buat junta tentera Burma yang bertindak melanggari hak asasi rakyatnya; juga sumbangan beliau pada tahun-tahun 1989-1993, di dalam merangka serta melaksanakan proses damai tajaan Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu(PBB)di Kemboja. Inisiatif yang dimulakan oleh Australia itu berhasil dengan kemahiran diplomasi Ali Alatas. Mutakhir ini kami bekerjasama bagi menjayakan inisiatif Australia-Jepun mengenai International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. Beliau seperti biasa, mempamirkan kebijaksanaan, juga berpengetahuan dan berpandangan jauh. Sudah tentu dengan ditemani Junisa; isteri beliau.
International Crisis Group
149 Avenue Louise, Level 24
B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2008
– A Disappointment
The long awaited legislation for a Judicial Appointments Commission is a disappointment. While it provides for a mechanism for selection and recommendation for appointments to the superior judiciary namely, the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Federal Court including their respective heads and provides for criteria for such appointments all of which may appear giving a semblance of transparency yet it could lead to executive interference into the independence of the judiciary.
Provisions for the Prime Minister of the day to defend the independence of the judiciary and power conferred on him to appoint and remove any or all the non-judicial members (eminent persons) of the Commission at any time without giving any reasons in essence means that the independence of the judiciary would be dependent on the personality of the Prime Minister in power, in effect the executive arm of the government.
Without amending article 121 of the Constitution to restore the doctrine of separation of powers and conferring the judicial power on the courts judicial independence cannot be secured by merely conferring on the chief executive of the government to uphold judicial independence.
This provision in clause 2 of the Bill read together with the power of the Prime Minister to remove the eminent persons in the Commission at any time without giving reasons pursuant to clause 9(1) virtually gives legal legitimacy for executive dominance over the judicial arm of the government.
There are other flaws in this Bill which are most worrying:
1) While clause 11 sets out at length for avoidance of conflict of interest situations for members of the Commission yet clause 15 dilutes its effectiveness in that contravention of clause 11 does not invalidate â€œany act done or proceeding takenâ€ pursuant to the same contravention . Hence a judicial appointment made in contravention of clause 11 will in any event be valid. What then is the purpose of the strictures over conflict of interest in clause 11?
2) Clause 5 (1)(f) provides for the Prime Minister to appoint four eminent members to the Commission after â€˜consulting â€˜ the Bar associations in West and East Malaysia. The word â€˜consultationâ€ is not defined in the Bill. Experience has shown in the past how the process of consultation between the Prime Minister and the Conference of Rulers over judicial appointments was abused by one Prime Minister. The process of consultation should not be seen as a sham.
3) While the Bill provides for the Prime Minister to accept persons recommended by the Commission yet it does not expressly provide what happens if he does not accept the recommendations. This omission read together with the power of the Prime Minister to amend the legislation within two years â€œwhenever it appears to him necessary or expedient to do so â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦..â€ leaves much to be desired. It provides unfettered power to the Prime Minister to amend the legislation under the pretext to â€œremoving difficulties or preventing anomaliesâ€. It will be open to abuse.
4) Further, clause 28 provides for the Prime Minister to tender his advice under article 122B of the Federal Constitution. Under article 122B the advice tendered to the King is after certain processes under the same article including the consultation with the Conference of Rulers. What happens if the Rulers have a differing view from that of the Prime Minister over any recommendation particularly in the light of the choices made by the Prime Minister from those recommended by the Commission? Hence without amending the Constitution to entrench the Commission and harmonize article 122B with its functions conflicts between the Constitution and the legislation could arise.
Finally, it must be stressed that the present Prime Minister may be well meaning and may not abuse his powers. The same cannot be said about future Prime Ministers. We must learn from experiences of the past. What is needed is a legislation which will insulate the judiciary as an institution and individual judges to secure their independence. The Dewan Rakyat as a constituent part of the legislature must be mindful of these concerns and provide for such insulation. The proposed Bill is far from providing such insulation. The Constitution must be amended to entrench the independence of the judiciary.
Datoâ€™ Param Cumaraswamy
Former UN Special Rapporteur on the
Independence of Judges and Lawyers
December 11, 2008
From The Star Online
By CLARA CHOOI
KUALA KANGSAR: Sungai Siput MP Dr D. Jeyakumar, his wife and three others were arrested after they allegedly stopped police from boarding a bus carrying participants of a cycling expedition by Jerit ( Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas or the Marginalised Peopleâ€™s Network).
The â€œPeople Cycling For Changeâ€ expedition started in Alor Star on Dec 3 and is scheduled to end at Parliament House on Dec 18. There were 45 passengers on the bus, all aged 13 and above.
From The Star Online
By YENG AI CHUN
BUKIT MERTAJAM: Seberang Jaya assemblyman Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah has set tongues wagging again after he was spotted at an Aidiladha kenduri (feast) organised by PKR here.
The Umno assemblyman was leaving the kenduri at Permatang Rawa near here when Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim arrived with his entourage.
Rakaman wawancara Riz Khan bersama Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim di Al-Jazeera.
PEJABAT DATUK SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM
From New York Times
By FRED A. BERNSTEIN
Jorn Utzon, an architect who designed one of the worldâ€™s most recognizable buildings â€” the Sydney Opera House â€” but never saw it finished, died in Copenhagen on Saturday. He was 90.
He died of heart failure in his sleep, according to his son Kim.