When the people have legal disputes, where else do they go but the Courts?
Tun Dr Mahathir was full of respect for our Judiciary. At the Asean Law Association General Assembly on 26th October 1982, he was reported as saying:
“I will always respect the Judiciary. We do not expect the courts to be pro or anti Government, only pro the Constitution and pro the law. The Government always considers the Constitution and the law carefully before we do anything so we expect the Judiciary to be free to judge our alleged trespasses without fear or favour, but in accordance with the law, in accordance with the law of evidence and procedure justly and fairly. We shall always respect their judgments...”
His loving relationship with the Judiciary however lasted slightly longer than Katy Perry’s marriage to Russell Brand.
When the Courts made several decisions against the government, particularly in the Berthelsen’s case – where the Court held the government’s cancellation of a journalist work permit was unlawful – he became displeased. This was followed by the High Court’s decision to issue a habeas corpus writ for the release of Karpal Singh from a detention. In the midst of it all, Justice Harun Hashim declared UMNO illegal and dissolved the party.
Tun quickly forgot what he said in 1982. He then viewed that the Judiciary was trying to take over the administration of Malaysia from his government.
Tun Dr Mahathir was reported in the 24 November 1986 issue of Time magazine, as saying:
“The Judiciary says , ‘Although you passed a law with certain thing in mind, we think that your mind is wrong , and we want to give our interpretation.’ If we disagree, the courts say, ‘We will interpret your disagreement.’ If we go along, we are going to lose our power of legislation. We know exactly what we want to do, but once we do it, it is interpreted in a different way, and we have no means to interpret it our way. If we find that a court always throws us out on its own interpretation, if it interprets contrary to why we made the law, then we will have to find a way of producing a law that will have to be interpreted according to our wish.”
He then moved the Parliament in 1998 to amend Article 121 of our Constitution. Now, it is stated that the Courts will only have judicial powers “as may be conferred by or under Federal law.” That means Malaysia is the only Commonwealth country whose Courts do not have judicial powers unless the Legislative says so.
Read more HERE.