Anwar Ibrahim verdict -Check and Balance – Malaysian Judiciary. A Bastion of the 3 branches of Governance.
Check and balance, of the esteemed revered judiciary.” A bastion of the 3 branches of Governance”.
Our judiciary cannot afford a perception of vulnerability. It must be seen as truly “stand alone” independent.
Although the maxim “can’t please all the people all the time” ring true in the Anwar verdict but the fact is that, our Judiciary should not even try to please anyone at all.
Innocence or guilt must be established following the letter of the law.
Not by instinctive sentiment or rumors or unsubstantiated populist public perception
So much meticulous detail and reverence was expended to charter the constitutional -laws to govern the new nation of Malaysia. Our founding forefathers desired the spirit of justice and fairness inherent in the laws that shelters law abiding citizens from all communities and dispenses justice to whomsoever deviates.
And it will be sacro-sanct not to respect that spirit – and dispense Judgment not in lieu of equal justice for all based on in-disputable evidence from all relevant perspectives (physical and circumstantial) and to extend “benefit of doubt” if there arise credible evidence of tampering or inconsistencies in testimonies, that serves to cloud a trial rather than re-enforce a case for prosecution or defense.
And of course, in good conscience and principles, our Judiciary should not issue judgments for the sake of “Expediency “or bow to pressure for a decision – “in favor of” .
The Anwar verdict and different streams of thinking
Seems to be different lines of thinking/opinions on the verdict,
1..It was a set-up from day one ,all lies fabricated to make sure Anwar’s threat is neutralize by a criminal conviction that essentially disqualifies him from participating in politics . A political conspiracy of the highest order. And judgment was a “foregone conclusion”
2…Haters and lovers of DSAI, who takes it to the very personal level. They are mindsets who will believe 100% of whatever is informed to them – without question – on both extremes, depending on which camp they are from. Absolutely convinced of the guilt or innocence, without doubt.
3…And then the ones who ascribe to logic and reason, making conclusions on facts brought forth… and actually with more room to maneuver in their personal determination than the courts.
Since they can deduce from the combination of circumstantial, physical, character and background testimonies, and form a personal interpretation , or opinion from the collective pool of evidence , without burden to convict or acquit , which is the unenviable conclusion the Judges need to make in the courtroom. And many from this section, have issues with the trial and questions the justice process that culminated in the verdict .
The Morality Dimension-No Dilemma There.
And one point for contemplation is what is being delicately and very subtly inferred /insinuated into the collective psyche of the people and not screamed out for public consumption is …..
The dimension of morality that seems to have been cautiously suppressed for now. In a society where homosexuality is frowned upon, yet a very public lynching of DSAI regarding his sexual orientation, that boiled in full steam few years ago ,seems to have been left to simmer , perhaps in a pressure cooker.
Although it is definitively one of the undercurrents steaming and won’t require much to find a vent / valve to release that steamy pressure out to public again.
In many Malaysian mindsets following developments of the trial, it is as if, whatever Anwar’s sexual orientation is, it is irrelevant.
For that is in the domain of the court of public opinion to judge, although somehow in a subtle way, the inference is ever present in the back of minds during the trial.
Interference of the Executive?
More significant is of the Executive interference in the due process of the Judiciary or perhaps the perception of that interference- that is shaping thoughts and opinions of the public in general.
And it’s seriously significant because, the sense of outrage and frustration of the people has not yet ebb.
The sense and emotional trauma of millions feeling cheated out of an Election, so amateurishly blatant, that it verges on insulting intelligence.
An analogy to describe the emotional sense of scarring- may be like…
” Feeling like experiencing and witnessing a crime happening to one personally, but the perp gives you a smirk and middle finger-because he knows no matter how loud are the protest and screams to the law, nonetheless, for a fact , the perp knows he will get away with it and there will be “ No Crime Commited” “No Further Action” . According to the authorities, due to some loophole in the laws.
And then the constant bombardment of contentious race/religious themes post GE from NGOs and the consistency of “strong arm” reminders from law enforcement agency, in acting against “seditious “elements”.
Predictable response of people
In any ostensible “democracy”, citizens will have tendencies to predictably react against any perceived arbitrary authoritarian or iron handed actions imposed on what is felt to be their democratic rights under siege.
Unless they can recognize the rationale or wisdom of the actions via discourse /consultation, albeit begrudgingly, and not suspiciously bulldozed into their psyches without warning or consideration of the public sentiments.
No Surprise – The Response of Public and Media
Is it any wonder, that the reaction from a large segment of the Malaysian public and some Media towards the verdict is based on suspicions of interference from the Executive branch of Government?
And the mass outraged sentiment from allegations of “Injustice” perpetuated or that it is “politically motivated.”
It is a small spurt from a very real pent-up sentiment of the people, that collectively has the potential to break embankments and rush in to flood and drown.
Our PM has used the word “Tsunami” before. So he should know the destructiveness of “waves” of shifting support.
So if he is familiar with the story of the Dutch boy, using his fingers to plug the leak in the dyke, he really ought to start looking out for the leaks and plug them.
Before it becomes a torrent of tidal wave proportions.
A Compromised Judiciary?
There has been an impression that the judiciary has been compromised, that had started from the “Mahathir” era…
Tun Haji Mohamed Salleh bin Abas. Former Lord President of the Federal Court of Malaysia was dismissed from his post during the 1988 Malaysian constitutional crisis.
An action internationally criticized and widely considered to be the event that began a marked reduction in the independence of the Malaysian judiciary.
Unfortunately, the confidence of the public has not been fully restored. Although, indeed there have been moments where our esteemed judges have exemplified the spirit of “Wisdom and Justice” in the written judgments that leaves no doubt of the integrity and nobility of the institution that serves no one but Lady Justice. There is still a lot of ground to cover to regain the lost confidence and reverence for the institution. Public confidence and conviction that the judicial institution is truly independent not easily swayed by undue influence from the Executive branch.
Deterrence ,the first line of defence for an efficient trustworthy administration.
So crucial for the functioning of an efficient and accountable and transparent government, because of the fear of cause and effect, actions and consequence of abuse, misuse of power and mal-practice of senior influential people in powerful positions or low ranking officials. Corruption is the uglier word.
Our secular laws and sacred constitution must not bow to anyone/parties, irrespective of power/influence they wield. That fear of consequence is an effective “first line “deterrent to mindsets that may be vulnerable to greed.
A very opaque and sturdy wall must be erected to partition the Judiciary and the Executive. For merely knowing that regardless of how wealthy / powerful / influential one is , or rise to be in government or private sector .
An awareness that the power/influence is nullified in our justice system – thus personal wealth or social status nor powerful portfolio is an automatic pre emptive condition ,and cannot be wielded to influence the laws of our country nor sway those appointed and entrusted to the task of upholding and dispense justice written down in our constitution..
When even our revered institution of Royalty has drafted their own version of rules to abide by their own Royal fraternity.-.What more us common folk who look upon the laws as an uncompromising protector of our rights and justice, but if seen as selectively wielded, it crushes hope and good faith of ordinary citizens.