These incidents, along with the hacking and defacing of the Malaysian judiciary’s website last week, constitute attempts to harass, and put undue pressure on, the judiciary and the judicial process. Any assault against the judiciary must not be tolerated, as the judiciary’s independence, which is fundamental in a democracy, must be painstakingly preserved. Judges must not become targets for intimidatory tactics.
We must all uphold, and accord respect to, judicial decisions. However, in some complex matters, a court decision may not produce the best solution, as the powers of a court are limited. A court interprets the law and applies the law to the facts of a particular case, but certain issues simply require more, and would be more effectively resolved outside of the courts through healthy dialogue and constructive debate.
The calls for this matter to be heard by a Muslim judge are counterproductive, as the resulting judgment might also be criticised as biased. All judges are qualified to deal with such matters as each judge takes an oath to defend and uphold the Federal Constitution.
The Malaysian Bar remains unwavering in its stance that individuals and groups must be allowed to legitimately exercise their rights to assemble peaceably and to express their viewpoints, including dissenting opinions. Criticism is to be welcomed, but all forms of threats, coercion, intimidation and violence must be shunned.
We call on the government to play its role by promoting avenues for discussion, such as forums and muzakarah, which will enable an open exchange of views and foster greater understanding of differing viewpoints.
Discourse on issues confronting the nation cannot take place only at official levels, behind closed doors, but must be inclusive and involve the public and those whose lives are affected by them.
12 Jan 2010