Tuesday, October 30, 2007

And what is said at Malaysia Today


Jeff Ooi


The 14th Malaysian Law Conference was held in Kuala Lumpur today, after months of planning and protocol arrangement. However, people attending the conference could sense that there was a shroud of of uneasiness between the Prime Minister and the the Malay rulers.

As it is, the opening ceremony this morning was a function attended by the Sultan but the Prime Minister was said to have made an 11th hour decision to absent himself.

According to Star's Shaila Koshy, the Bar Council's biennial Malaysian Law Conference was supposed to have struck two firsts: a ruler who is a former head of the judiciary himself, and the head of government will attend the conference together.

Protocol arrangement has earlier confirmed that Sultan of Perak and former Lord President, Sultan Azlan Shah, will open the conference and give a short speech, while Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will deliver the keynote address.

Abdullah sent in his court jester instead.

Shooting down various proposals raised by Malaysian Bar Council, de facto law minister Nazri Abdul Aziz said the erosion of public confidence in the judiciary is a matter of perception by the lawyers, who he termed as minority group of the country.

However, Sultan Azlan Shah, who declared open the conference, said public perception of the judiciary ultimately matters. (Read the Sultan's full speech here.)

Nazri is a subject of Perak, where Sultan Azlan Shah is the incumbent ruler.

Quote Malaysiakini:

"The principle quality that the judiciary must possess is impartiality. It means that judges are not only free from influence of external forces but also of one another," he said.

The former Lord President had the delegates in stitches when he mistakenly said "there are good lawyers and bad judges" when he meant "bad lawyers" before smiling and correcting his error.

He also said that judges should resist socialising with business personages and other well-connected people.

He added that it is time for the country to undertake major reforms in its commercial court structure and procedures to compete with other countries.

Meanwhile, Malaysiakini also reported that Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi cancelled his appearance at the opening ceremony at the eleventh hour to officiate the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) today.

However, he is to make up by reading his keynote address at a dinner hosted by him for conference participants tonight.

The three-day conference is themed: '50 Years of Independence'. Topics covered include issues related to the Federal Constitution, the country's legal system after 50 years, the rights of the stateless and indigenous people, freedom of expression in arts, freedom of information, and the role of Asean in Burma.

Read more and its comments @ http://malaysia-today.net/blog2006/index.php?itemid=9598

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