Friday, March 12, 2010

NH Chan: I’ll call a spade a spade

Chan does not believe he was challenging the judiciary. — file pic

Retired judge Datuk NH Chan today denied he was challenging the judiciary, but said he would not be cowed into keeping mum on judgments which twist the law.

“I’m not challenging them but I will criticise them when they make wrong judgments,” Chan told The Malaysian Insider.

The former Court of Appeal judge was responding to a recent essay by social activist, Martin Jalleh, under the headline “Charge NH Chan for contempt or resign, CJ?”

Jalleh had questioned Chief Justice (CJ) Tun Zaki Azmi’s silence in the face of Chan’s increasingly “blistering” criticism against the Bench and dared the top judge to take legal action to protect the reputation of the judiciary.

In the article dated March 10, Jalleh wrote: “NH Chan’s comments on members of the judiciary have no doubt been bold, blunt and blistering. He has accused judges of being blind, biased and being a bunch of ‘idiots’ and ‘fools’. He has thrown the gauntlet down.

“If the CJ disagrees with NH Chan’s criticisms he should haul the former Court of Appeal judge into court and demand that the latter shows cause for why he should not be cited for contempt! Does Zaki have the guts to take up the gauntlet or will he prefer to allow the judicial circus to go on?”

Chan, 74, disagreed with the writer’s view that he was “challenging” the judiciary.

“Martin Jalleh has challenged. I personally will never challenge. I’m a person who will not do anything stupid,” the ex-judge said.

“If you put your hand in a lion’s mouth, you may think you are brave, but the lion may close its mouth. What then? You may lose your hand,” he added.

The acerbic author of two books, most recently “How to Judge the Judges”, said he has never been afraid to speak his mind and was prepared for any action the judiciary may decide to take against him.

Asked if the CJ could have him charged for contempt of court, Chan replied: “They can do what they like because they have done it before.”

But Chan vowed to continue speaking up on issues that he feels have perverted the law, drawing attention to the inconsistencies in the grounds of judgments delivered by the Federal Court and the Court of Appeal in the last two years, most notably the Perak controversy over the sacking of its mentri besar.

“I’ll call a spade a spade,” said the retiree, who now lives in Ipoh.

courtesy of Malaysian Insider

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