top of page
  • globalunitednative

Judging the judges

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

– Will Rogers, American actor

In most political establishments, judges are said to be “duabus sellis sedere”, Latin for sitting in two saddles. This is obvious because judges are usually political appointments. They are not selected and elected by eligible voting citizens.

Who judges them? Obviously, it’s their political masters who appoint them. They don’t toe the line, off they go. It’s a sad day for that trite remark ‘independence of the judiciary.’

Truth be told, the voting public should judge the judges. After all, the voters choose their MP, one of whom becomes the prime minister who appoints the judges. The elected defers to the will of the elector, so why can’t the elector qualify to select, elect and judge the appointed judges?

And, that’s where the problem begins, and ends. The United States Supreme Court has chalked up a ‘Thirteen Worst Cases’ record starting from the 1867 Dred Scott case which decided and decreed that a slave was chattel (property) belonging to his owner!

Justice Clarence Thomas of the US Supreme Court says that “the job of a judge is to figure out what the law says, not what he wants it to say. There’s a difference between the role of a judge and that of a policy maker . . . judging requires a certain impartiality”.

Which brings us to the Malaysian judiciary. Must every case, especially a criminal case, end up in court with the Federal Constitution’s Article 145(3) sword of Damocles hanging over the judge’s head granting the Attorney General sole authority and power to discontinue criminal proceedings?

The string of recent DNAAs unleashed by the judiciary taints and contaminates the canon of judicial ethics expressed as judex tenetur impertiri judicum – (Latin) – the judge is bound to communicate or give the benefit of his decision. The Malaysian public was denied this crucial requirement from sitting judges.

Judges are put in a bad light when they are said to perpetrate ‘boni nocet quisquis perpecerit malis’, Latin for whoever spares the bad injures the good. When politics is injected into the bloodstream of the judiciary, truth, law, order and justice take off on an ugly trajectory.

Article 125(3B) of the Federal Constitution prescribes ways and means for the removal of a judge in the event of a breach of the canon of judicial ethics. One Court of Appeal judge was permanently suspended in 2020 for exposing judicial misconduct which is, prima facie, not a violation of any code of ethics.

Another got promoted in 1994 directed from the Bar to the Court of Appeal ostensibly for resolving the Umno crisis of 1987 when Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah took on Dr. Mahathir Mohamad resulting in the deregistration of Umno. Whether the Legal and Judicial Services Commission was consulted over this leap-frog judicial gymnastics is a naïve question.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page