KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20: Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak must explain his interference with the judicial process when he allegedly stymied the promotion of Court of Appeals judge, Hishamudin Yunus, the DAP today said.
DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang in a statement said Najib should come forward to clarify if he had indeed stopped Hishamudin from being promoted to a Federal Court judge in 2013.
“Hishamudin’s promotion to the Federal Court was recommended by Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) in 2013 but his elevation was blocked by the Prime Minister.
“This is a clear case of Executive interference with the independence, impartiality, integrity and professionalism of the judiciary which the Judicial Appointments Commission Act 2009 was enacted by Parliament to overcome so as to ensure unbiased selection and elevation judges,” he said.
Lim was responding to an exclusive report by newsportal Malaysiakini, which quotes Hishamudin as saying that Najib had not been in favour of his elevation to the nation’s highest court.
“Unfortunately, the PM was not in favour of my elevation to the Federal Court. I think this fact is public knowledge,” Hishamudin said in the interview.
Hishamudin retired last month, but his career is notable for several landmark decisions including the release of PKR leaders N Gobalakrishnan and Abdul Ghani Haroon from detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) and a more recent decision that the persecution of cross dressers is unconstitutional.
Lim, who is also Gelang Patah MP, said Hishamudin is one of the very few judges in recent times whom Malaysians can be proud of — a fact which he described as a “sad narrative.”
“How many judges are there who are in the league of Justice Hishamudin?
“Since the first assault on the independence of the judiciary in 1998 with the sacking of the then Lord President and two Supreme Court judges by the then Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysian judiciary has never recovered its high repute and standing for its quality, independence, integrity and professionalism whether in national or international circles,” he said.
He further urged for the Judicial Appointments Commission Act to be amended in the forthcoming Parliament to ensure that interference with the independence, integrity and professionalism of the judiciary could not recur.
– The Rocket