Profile of the Head of the Malaysian Judiciary:
Chief Justice Tan Sri Zaki Azmi:
Prior to Tan Sri Zaki Azmi being appointed as Chief Justice of Malaya on 21st October, 2008, he was an UMNO member and served as a Legal Advisor to UMNO. His previous position in UMNO was as the Chairman of UMNO's Disciplinary Committee.
His ties to UMNO is too deep for him to ensure the independence of the judiciary especially in cases involving the interest of UMNO or UMNO cronies.
He has only served the judiciary for less than 5 years in total before becoming the Chief Justice, an unprecedented leap-frogging to the top post in the Judiciary with help of the UMNO-led Government.
Asia Sentinel reported on 7 December, 2007
"..As UMNO’s legal man, Tan Sri Zaki Azmi was involved with the UMNO's myriad scandalous financial misadventures that were bailed out by the government in the heydays of former Prime Minister Mahathir’s crony-capitalism during the last Asian financial crisis."(Read here for more on background of Tan Sri Zaki Azmi, Chief Justice of Malaya)
(As of 14 April, 2009) Zambry is waiting (and expected) to be endorsed as BN Mentri Besar of Perak by the Federal Court that is currently headed by a former UMNO Legal Adviser and Chairman of the UMNO Disciplinary Committee, Chief Justice Zaki Azmi
The Federal Court has unanimously ruled it has the powers to decide on whether Perak Speaker V Sivakumar’s suspension of the mentri besar and his executive council from the legislature was valid.
Today’s decision by the Federal Court will also be controversial because it appears to affect the legal principle of separation of powers and also constitutional provisions which suggests the legislature governs its own proceedings.
The Perak Speaker's counsel Sulaiman Abdullah warned the court that this was a
Sulaiman explained that the Speaker’s actions were not exempt from review but “exempt from review by the courts.”
“....significant step in Malaysian legal history in that the hitherto well-preserved distinction between the legislative and judiciary is being challenged.
Similar to matters pertaining to the Syariah court, THIS court has NO jurisdiction.
It is up to the (Perak ) Assembly to decide on its rights and privileges.”
Sulaiman drew a parallel with that of judges of an apex court, that their decisions, no matter how out of order, also could not be questioned. He also added that the mentri besar could also seek dissolution of the assembly if the speaker had acted completely out of order.
Sulaiman cited Standing Orders 89 and 90 of the Perak assembly which he claimed gives the speaker the power to make final decisions on matters of the assembly, subject to a substantive motion being raised.