Judiciary comes under attack for not respecting the rule of law


(TMI) – Most Malaysian judges fail to recognise that the Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and this is the reason public law litigation is dead in this country, a public forum on rule of law and human rights was told last night.

Senior lawyer Tommy Thomas said this category of judges over the years merely paid lip service to the supremacy of the Constitution.

“That has not ‎changed much now and I will likely lose constitutional cases before them,” he told a panel discussion at a public forum on the Rule of Law and Human Rights in Malaysia, jointly organised by the Malaysian Bar‎ and the United Kingdom-based Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law.

Thomas, who has been in practice since 1976, also lamented it was difficult for litigants to get leave in the High Court to mount a challenge against arbitrary decisions made by public authorities.

“The Attorney-General, who is the custodian of public interests, comes to court to object to the leave application,” he said.

Thomas said lawyers could argue brilliantly by submitting cases and legal principles on constitutional and administrative ‎laws before these judges, but it was difficult to woo them.

“So public law in this country is in a sad state and constitutional law‎ is especially, really dead,” he added.

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