NST Leader: Justice under threat

WE tell the world we are a nation of law and order. Yet, when a court hands down a decision that goes against the defendant, who happens to be a former prime minister and former president of Umno, the party leadership launches a vicious attack on the administration of justice in the country.

Death threats have been issued against the chief justice and her family, though we can't tell for sure if the two are linked.

We will leave that to the police. This has never happened before in Malaysia, which is about to celebrate the 65th anniversary of its independence. What an irony. We celebrate one type of independence after eroding another.

Referring specifically to the recent Federal Court's decision to disallow Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the defendant, from adducing fresh evidence, Umno's current president, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who himself is facing numerous corruption charges, alleged "erosion of judicial integrity".

This is a serious allegation against the last bastion of justice and must be seriously dealt with. We suggest contempt charges against all who seek to harm the judiciary. This is the only way to safeguard the bench.

Umno is no johnny-come-lately to the political scene and its leaders aren't novices. They may not know the law, but they intend an outcome that they are not getting. The leadership of Umno seems to suggest that not just its leaders are not "seeing justice being done" in Najib's case but the party, too, shares the view.

This is a dangerous development. Umno politicians today, prime ministers tomorrow. That has been the trend, except for two occasions. It may very well send a few more to Putrajaya.

Malaysians will not be wrong to ask: will we still be a nation of law and order? Not with politicians like these in Putrajaya. To say that judicial integrity is being eroded is a premeditated move to harm the administration of justice in the country.

Little wonder, the Malaysian Bar "is aghast" and "is perturbed by the statements made by Umno".

Like the Malaysian Bar, we must be similarly perturbed by such dangerous developments. Our Constitution, the highest law of the land, gives our judges the judicial authority to decide the cases before them for a reason.

They know the merits of the cases as they are presented to them. Besides, grounds for judgment are clearly spelt out as they were in the case against Najib.

Politicians who neither know the facts (or twist them) nor the law should not turn into "instant judges" to advance their personal agenda.

The Federal Court has clearly pointed out to Najib that what he claims to be "new" evidence was known to him during his 1Malaysia Development Bhd trial in November 2019, a month before his SRC International defence case commenced.

Also, it failed to cross the high bar set by Section 93 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 and the 1961 English Court of Appeal case R v Parks. Both are settled law. Neither of this was mentioned in Zahid's statement. We advance a reason: the truth will kill his goal to get the people to lose trust in the judiciary.

Does Umno really want the people to lose trust in the judiciary? Say no, for the other path is lawlessness and disorder.

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