Rally around and compel Federal Court to make a ruling: It is their obligation!

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Providing a ruling would render appropriate guidance onextensions of judicial service beyond the constitutional age of retirement of our judges, writes P Ramakrishnan.

We must admire and respect Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s tenacity and persistence in pursuing a case right to the end. He doesn’t easily give up. And that is the only way to achieve what one has set out as one’s goal.

It is heartening to note that Mahathir has decided to challenge the Federal Court’s refusal to make a ruling on the constitutional provisions on the appointments of former Chief Justice Md Raus Sharif and former Court of Appeal president Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin earlier this month.

Rather than allow the matter to rest as a fait accompli, Mahathir has decided to challenge the Federal Court’s unanimous decision. We cannot allow this issue to hang in the air without a resolution. If we allow this absurd situation to exist, we would be failing ourselves and the country by remaining indifferent to a ludicrous decision.

It is the right course of action to take. We should not allow the Federal Court to get away with this dereliction of duty. Judges cannot shirk their duty and responsibility; they are bound by their oath of office to live true to their calling by delivering a decision. Anything short of this is a dereliction of their obligation to justice itself.

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We need many more organisations, concerned civil societies, professional bodies and respected individuals to file an avalanche of suits to compel the judiciary to come out with a ruling. The Malaysian Bar, the Advocates and Solicitors Association of Sarawak and the various state chapters of the Bar Councils should mount this challenge.

If we fail to do this as a moral responsibility, we condone the lackadaisical attitude of the Federal Court in making a mockery of justice. The Federal Court owes it to the country to address the issue sincerely, honestly and forthrightly, without fear or favour.

We must pile pressure on the judiciary to compel it to respond judiciously. It is a matter of conscience. They will be put in a position to be duty bound to deliver a decision on this straightforward issue.

This is a better and far healthier approach than for Malaysians to indulge in interpretations and speculations of the stance of the Federal Court in avoiding the issue before it.

Providing a ruling would render appropriate guidance to our young nation and our politicians on such extensions of judicial service beyond the constitutional age of retirement of our judges. It would also be in keeping with the grand tradition of a responsible judiciary.

As Martin Luther King Jr correctly observed, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

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