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MPs serve notice to refer CJ to tribunal

PETALING JAYA, 26 Nov 2008: Fifty seven parliamentarians have made a historical request for a parliamentary motion to refer Chief Justice (CJ) Tan Sri Zaki Azmi to a tribunal on the grounds of his alleged misconduct.

DAP Member of Parliament (MP) for Bukit Gelugor, Karpal Singh, said 57 MPs including an independent, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP)’s Datuk Eric Majimbun have signed the notice.

The number is more than the 25% of the total number of MPs as required under the Federal Constitution to discuss the conduct of the CJ.

Karpal Singh
Karpal Singh
The notice asked for the House to call upon the Prime Minister to invoke the provisions of Article 125(3) of the Federal Constitution by referring Zaki to a tribunal appointed by the King.

“(This is) in accordance with Clause 4 to remove Zaki from office as Chief Justice on grounds of serious misconduct in having publicly lied, and pending any report by the tribunal under Clause 3, that Zaki be suspended forthwith as CJ,” said the notice.

The notice was served based on Zaki’s statements in Kuching on 7 Nov 2008 that he had given bribes during his days as a practicing lawyer in 1987.

According to the notice, Zaki was quoted as saying that: “It took me six months to be nice, to bribe each and every individual to get back into their good books before our files were attended to. That was my personal experience and I am telling this to all the clerks and all the registries to stop this nonsense.”

The New Straits Times ran a clarification from Zaki on 8 Nov that “your reporter must have interpreted what I have said…I have never in my life bribed or received any bribe.”

The notice said Zaki’s clarification on 8 Nov 2008 in the New Straits Times was a lie and brought the entire judiciary into disrepute.

However, on whether the motion would be raised in the House, Karpal said as long as the notice was served within 14 days, the Speaker must get it into the order paper.

“We will insist on a debate.  If he (the Speaker) rejects, it does not reflect well on the Speaker,” said Karpal, adding that this was a very exceptional motion.

Karpal also noted that no MP from Barisan Nasional signed the notice.

Karpal, the DAP national chairperson, said he had given Zaki until yesterday to step down.

“There is a recording (of Zaki’s statement),” said Karpal, adding he would wait for two weeks to decide on the next course of action.

On 12 Nov 2008, Karpal’s emergency motion in Parliament to discuss the matter was rejected by Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia. Pandikar said that under Standing Order 36(8), the character and conduct of judges cannot be discussed.

Pandikar noted that the conduct or character of judges can be debated in Parliament if there was a private motion endorsed by a quarter of the house, or 55 members.

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