In my previous posting Has government been incorrect in selecting candidate for judge's position? which discussed a malaysiakini news item titled Rulers reject PM’s choice for top judge, I wasn’t surprised to see my good mate kittykat46 making his usual no compromise comments against the government ;-)
I had cheekily, and also on principle, questioned Jeff Ooi’s remark in his blog on the same matter where he asked: “I wonder Parliamentary Democracy [is] still relevant and [in] existent in Malaysia? Is there a separation of power where the three pillars of parliamentary democracy, namely the Legislative, Executive and Judiciary, are to operate independent of each other?”
“By allowing the PM, who is the head of the Executive, to nominate a member of the Bench as the third highest position in the Judiciary, will the nominated Judiciary officer be made beholden and subservient to the Executive?”
In other words, while I do share kittykat46’s distrust of our government, I disagree with Jeff’s thrust against the process where the PM (or the government of the day) nominates the candidate for the judiciary post. It’s the prerogative of the Executive in most Commonwealth countries and the USA, a process inherited from the British judicial system.
On theory such an executive right in appointing a judge to a senior position should not and usually would not jeopardize the separation of powers so dear in a democratic system. Certainly the government of the day would exploit the retirement or death of a senior judge* to nominate a member of the bench whom it reckons has either conservative or liberal views.
* of the High or Federal Court, depending on which country it is, as the term High and Federal have different status in different countries
In most cases, those judges, once confirmed in their appointments have an independent view of their own and are not that easy for the government to influence. Admittedly the Malaysian bench of recent years has lost much of our respect, though we are pleased to see a recent wee awakening.
The process is not incorrect; the material could be better!
And that’s what Jeff or the law fraternity should be looking at. Admittedly the damn difficulty is the whole affair is shrouded in secrecy where the public doesn’t even know who’s the candidate, and good lord, Malaysians hate surprises in such areas – for example, last year we witnessed a case where a 22 year old sweetie was appointed as a magistrate, when at that time she hadn’t even received her degree – see my post Yang Arif Muda. Now that's the sort of candidate we can certainly questioned.
Much as we detest the government (or rather, the ruling party) we need to be very careful not to be plain negative about everything and become unconstructive.
I am prepared to acknowledge that the government has done some good though more bad, and likewise with the DAP, which I admire for their courageous puritanical no-nonsense (and humourless - hahaha) approach but which sometimes annoyed me for their pedantic pettiness.
We cannot see Malaysian politics in just plain black and white, or we’ll end up as another form of what we have criticised as the ‘sokong’ brigade.
Let me provide an example of how we Malaysians have become hypercritical without discrimination.
OK, in today’s malaysiakini, I read of a Tamil school using a shoplot in Lukut, Negeri Sembilan as its official building for the last 15 days while awaiting for a land grant from the government. It goes on to say the location earn curious disbelieving glances from onlookers.
Have Malaysians seen schools in Hong Kong? Some over there don’t even enjoy a shoplot on its own, but are located on the umpteenth floor or floors of a multi storey building, sharing the same building with cinemas, whatever parlours and restaurants.
On the other hand, our Tamil school, with only 60 students from primary one to four, and six teachers, has four classrooms all fully air-conditioned, yes, fully air-conditioned. It uses a nearby field for assemblies and physical education classes, something which some HK schools don’t even have.
I would say it’s not too bad for the 60 students studying in air-conditioned comfort rather than be in a steamy mosquito-infested broken down shed on the edge of a rubber estate.
Sure, a typical standalone school building on a nice plot of land would be ideal but the Tamil school problem in many cases lies in the dwindling numbers of students. Its other problem is the lack of support from the MIC and Indian philanthropists, by comparison to the Chinese case.
Let’s not just condemn the situation for the sake of condemning. In many respect I dare say the students in the shoplot school may be better off than some other Tamil school students elsewhere.
It’s true we are fed up with the BN or more correctly UMNO-led government but at the same time we need to be more discriminating in our criticisms of the government, or even any particular political party.