Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, to the Old Xaverians’ Association at 50, Jalan Perak, Penang on “Some Reflections on 30 years of Malaysian Nationhood” on Saturday, 10.10.1987 at 8pm
Call on Barisan National Government to end the speculation in the country by giving a clear-cut assurance that there will be no good moves in the coming Parliament against the judiciary
Various government leaders, including the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, had said in the past that rumours and speculations could have a detrimental effect on the country’ economic and investment climate, and this is why the Government must be vigilant and quick in ending speculations and rumours when they arise and persist.
The government cannot disregard such rumours or speculations, in the same way that the Prime Minister had openly rebutted rumours and speculations that he is the richest Prime Minister in the world.
Recently, there have been much talk and speculation that in the coming meeting of Parliament, which begins on Monday and lasts for two months, there will be a constitutional crisis, and that the Judiciary will come under attack.
One reason for such talk and speculation is because in has recent tour of the various States to talk to UMNO leaders, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, had been more critical than ever against the Judiciary and undoubtedly, most critical than the three previous Prime Ministers against the Judiciary.
There is talk that there may be a motion of censure against a judge, or amendment to the Constitution to strengthen the Executive’s powers over the Judiciary.
I have taken these talks and speculation so seriously that I had looked up the Constitution with regard to the provisions relating to the Judges.
Article 127 of the Constitution provides that “The conduct of a judge of the Supreme Court or a High Court shall not be discussed in either House of Parliament except on a substantive motion of which notice has been given by not less than one quarter of the total number of members of that House, and shall not be discussed in the Legislative Assembly of any State.”
Article 125(3) provides for the removal of judges, which states:
“If the Prime Minister, or the Lord President after consulting the Prime Minister, represents to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that a judge of the Supreme Court ought to be removed on the ground of misbehaviour or of inability, from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause, properly to discharge the function of his office, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall appoint a tribunal in accordance with Clause (4) and refer the representation to it; and may on the recommendation of the tribunal remove the judge from office.”
Article 125(4) provides:
“The said tribunal shall consist of not less than five persons who hold or have held office as judge of the Supreme Court or a High Court, or, if it appears to the Yang di Pertuan Agong expedient to make such appointment, persons who hold or have held equivalent office in any other part of the Commonwealth, and shall be presided over by the member first in the following Order, namely, the Lord President of the Supreme Court, the Chief Justices according to their precedence among themselves, and other members according to the order of their appointment to an office qualifying them for membership….”
In the past 14 months since the 1986 general elections, despite a four-fifth parliamentary majority won by the Barisan Nasional, the country has been going from one crisis to another.
If Malaysia’s economic recovery is going to come about, than the atmosphere of permanent crisis must be brought to an end, and the government must restrain itself from precipitating the country into another new crisis, whether constitutional or other kind.
It is for this reason that I am taking the unusual step of calling on the Barisan Nasional Government to end the disturbing and unhealthy speculation that in the coming Parliament, there will be an unprecedented attack on the Judiciary.
I call on the Government to give a clear-cut assurance that there would be no substantive motion against any judges invoking Article 127 of the Constitution is being planned, and that the government is not considering any amendments to the Constitutional provisions on the Judiciary.
The Government, with all the resources at its command, must know that such talk and speculation is becoming widespread, and it must put them to an end by coming out clearly and unequivocally on the government’s commitment to the principle of Independence of the Judiciary.