Friday, March 03, 2006

Once a Raja

Sometimes when we have been used to certain luxuries, liberties and indeed privileges, we find it difficult to adjust to new circumstances which have removed such items from our reach.

Well, from what judge Gopal Sri Ramdas has recently pronounced, it would appear that former Finance Minister and one-time close confidante of former PM Mahathir, Daim Zainuddin must have forgotten that today he isn’t all that powerful anymore.

He did something silly like telling the press “I do not know what the court’s motives are” in involving his name into the Metramac scandal. Oh la la! Daim has virtually implied that the Court has some kind of motives against him. That really stirred a hornets nest, the kind we ordinary long suffering Malaysians like to see. Judge Gopal Sri Ram warned that Daim could be charged for contempt of court for his statement.

An outraged judge Gopal gave it to him left, right, and centre:

“Our motives here is to do justice without fear and favour. And let me say this: This (Daim’s) statement is contemptuous!”

“We fear no one, however wealthy or however powerful they are. This institution does not fear anybody! We are the people who have sworn to uphold the constitution and interpret the acts of Parliament.”

“Are we to keep quiet when we see there is something wrong? Is it better to shut up and look like fools rather than to open our mouths and cast doubts?”

And when the good judge got going, there’s no stopping him, because next he pounced on another bloke in the Metramac case, lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who was acting for Daim’s protégé, Halim Saad.

Apparently lawyer Muhammad Safee had sent a letter of complaint to Court of Appeal president Abdul Malek Ahmad and Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh, alleging misconduct and bias on the part of the appellate judges, Gopal, Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin and Hashim Yusoff.

Judge Gopal went ballistic with the complaint to his superiors, reminding that his remarks made in the appellate court judgment were based on evidence adduced at the trial.

“The individuals were implicated even at the High Court level. There were documents stating the drawing of money from the company. The documents speak for themselves.”

“These are remarks made against the rich and powerful. They cannot think that they are above the law ... Let me remind them: Be you ever so high, the law is above you. Just because they are rich and powerful do not mean that they can attack the court and get away with this.”

Judge Zulkefli also questioned lawyer Shafee’s complaint to their superiors, describing it as an act of going ‘behind the judges’.

Well, as I stated, some people have been so used to previous privileges that they have forgotten that they may now be judged rather than judge others. And maybe they think Courts have motives? Hmmm, I wonder why they would entertain such a thought? And 'going behind someone’s back' - phew, that's really low down!

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