" This UMNO-led Government does NOT care less for any view or concern of the citizens on the governance of our beloved nation.
Simply because it knows, and rightly knows, it can win government again and again, through the dubious and manipulated electoral process it has put in place since it won government in 1957, in entrenching its strangle-hold for political power in the country.
There is an air of helplessness among civil societies and concerned citizens in trying to redress the political excesses of UMNO as the dominant political party in the coalition running this government.
Unfortunately, under present situation in Malaysia, there is LITTLE the current political system and the public institutional structure, or, for that matter, the Monarchy/the Council of Malay Rulers/Raja-Raja Melayu, can do anything about it."
From Malaysiakini: Read here for more
The King, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, has consented to the lightning-fast appointment of Zaki Azmi - who has parachuted into the Federal Court three months ago - as President of the Court Appeal, the No.2 post in the judiciary.
The PM Abdullah Badawi said the King acted on the advice of the Prime Minister and after consultation with the Conference of Rulers.
The Court of Appeal president Abdul Hamid Mohamad has been today appointed as the new chief justice, which is the judiciary's most powerful post.
The unconventional elevation of Zaki, 62, could pose ANOTHER BLOW to the ailing reputation of the judiciary.
Exactly three months ago, he became the FIRST LAWYER to be directly appointed into the Federal Court. (Before this, only lawyer Gopal Sri Ram had bypassed serving in the High Court when he was appointed to the Court of Appeal in 1994. )
Zaki previously served as UMNO’s Legal Adviser and Disciplinary Committee Chairperson.
He was also UMNO's Selection Committee Secretary and Deputy Chairperson of UMNO's Disciplinary Board Appeal Panel.
He stepped down from these posts in 2005 following his divorce from his second wife, Nor Hayati Yahaya, who was almost half his age.
With Abdul Hamid due for retirement next year, Zaki is the frontrunner for the judiciary's No 1 post.
Bar Surprised Over Appointment of Zaki
Meanwhile in an immediate response, the Malaysian Bar expressed surprise over the appointment of Zaki as the Court of Appeal president “given that there were OTHER suitable candidates in terms of SENIORITY and SERVICE in the judiciary”.
The Bar’s president Ambiga Sreenevasan said in a statement that Zaki was also only recently elevated to the Federal Court.
“There are the added concerns of his previous BUSINESS interests and involvement in UMNO ,” she added.
Jeff Ooi's Prediction on 1st November on the likely succession of Zaki Azmi to the No. 2 post is TRUE.
The scenario Screenshots narrated on November 1 is thus becoming true.
With the retirement of Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim as the Chief Justice, his successor Abdul Hamid will have some five months to warm the seat before he, too, retires though a 6-month extension after April 2008 is not unimaginable.
The linch to the lynch is who will succeed Abdul Hamid in a short time, and stay on for a reasonable period of time thereafter.
FLASHBACK. This is what I wrote on November 1:However, the legal circle and the Parliament were rumbling with the possibility that the CJ's post may go to somebody else, who went straight to be a Federal Court judge only a month ago, bypassing the conventional process of having to first serve as a presiding judge in the (lower courts namely the) High Court and the Court of Appeal?And this is what I warned the Bar Council on November 2: Press on for the setting up of a judicial appointments commission for the appointment and promotion of judges.
In other words, is the new CJ going to be the same man who had served as a lawyer at various capacities -- as the legal advisor and official position-bearer for Umno, and as a director in Berjaya-related company?
For once, let's try to feel good for Malaysia, and for many years to come.
Top contender. I've been told that Zaki Azmi, the UMNO lawyer who was controversially made Federal Court early last month, is Choice No 1 for the Chief of Justice post.
If that happens, the crisis faced by the Judiciary is expected to deepen. Zaki's ascension to the Federal Court defied convention as no one had ever been promoted to the Federal Court without first serving the High Court and the Appeal Court [Umno lawyer promoted to Federal Court, Sept 5].
Zaki's name has cropped up after Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim failed today to get his term as the CJ extended amid the VK Lingam tape scandal. See Screenshots' "Power to the Rulers, Power to the People" and SKThew's "Power to the Rulers. Power to the Rakyat".
Excerpts: Read here for more
There is growing concern that the country may be plunged to another equally grave crisis of confidence in the independence and integrity of the judiciary – the appointment of an UMNO Chief Justice for the FIRST TIME in the 50-year history of Malaysia, namely Tan Sri Zaki Azmi.
The appointment of Zaki as Federal Court Judge in early September, which involved an unprecedented “triple jump” WITHOUT first serving as judge of High Court and Court of Appeal, was the first in the nation’s 50-year history, raising the question whether the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was paving the way to appoint Zaki as a future Chief Justice.
Nobody questions the legal qualifications and capabilities of Zaki but there are many legitimate questions as to the suitability of his judicial appointment, in particular as Chief Justice.
For five decades, there had NEVER been any judge who could be said to be an UMNO Judge in terms of his Party membership and his long services to UMNO as a political party.
For the past 22 years, Zaki was:
an active UMNO member and lawyer, representing UMNO in many controversial and even dubious UMNO cases, culminating variously as head of UMNO legal advisor; head of UMNO disciplinary committee panel and in 2001 as Deputy Chairman of UMNO Disciplinary Board of Appeal.
Is Zaki still an UMNO member? If he had resigned from UMNO, WHEN did he resign from UMNO?
Will Zaki’s further elevation in the judiciary to become the Chief Justice be conducive to such an uphill task which had been the bane of Malaysia’s world standing and international competitiveness?
After his appointment to the Federal Court in early September, Zaki said that he was given less than 24 hours to decide whether he would accept the appointment, and he described it as a “national service”.
.... Whether public perception, both national and international, will regard it more as “UMNO service” rather than “national service”.
In the circumstances, it would be a major faux pas of the Prime Minister to plunge the country from one judicial crisis of confidence to another, re-opening anew the urgency for the establishment of a Judicial Appointments and Promotions Commission .