Judicial misconduct: Are NCR cases in Sarawak affected, too?

Paul Raja

KUCHING, Feb 17: Dayak National Congress (DNC), in joining the growing chorus for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to be set up to investigate the chilling revelations in Court of Appeal judge Datuk Hamid Sultan Abu Backer’s affidavit on the misconduct of the judiciary, said the claims of scandals had raised one pertinent question — are Native Customary Rights (NCR) land cases in Sarawak also affected?

DNC said the indigenous communities of Sarawak were very disturbed with the allegations of conspiracy and collusion among judges and lawyers and the fixing of judgements.

“We have seen lately that there has been a sudden about turn by the courts on NCR land cases. With just three Federal Court decisions, namely TR Sandah, TR Nyutan and TR Massa, the indigenous peoples’ rights over their NCR lands are suddenly decimated,” said DNC president Paul Raja in a statement yesterday.

He pointed out that since the landmark decision of Adong Bin Kuwau in 1997, there had been an upward movement in the courts in recognising of native customary land. In 2001, Nor Nyawai became the first case in Sarawak. After that came other important cases like Sagong Tasi in 2005 then Madelli Bin Salleh in 2007. Since then, Malaysian Courts have been continuously recognising native land rights in keeping up with international standard of justice on indigenous people’s rights.

“That has been the trend until the legal tragedy in TR Sandah in 2016. The decision of TR Sandah in Dec 2016 effectively put an end to NCR land claims. TR Sandah was followed by TR Nyutan in Oct, 2017 and TR Massa in Nov 2017.

“These three cases have effectively terminated NCR land claims.”

Paul claimed the Sarawak government had always been averse to all NCR land claims as the suits were against them.

“With volume of accusations made against the judiciary, the indigenous people are very concerned whether the judiciary had also assisted the state government against their NCR land cases. The indigenous people have the right to know the truth on these very serious allegations.”

He said DNC salutes the courage of Hamid for taking the pain, sacrificing his comfort and putting his reputation on the line to expose this judicial scandal that has no parallel in any history.

Paul described the list of misdeeds contained in the affidavit as “enormous”. They ranged interference with judgments by outside and internal elements; fixing of decisions for the bidders; favoritism in appointment of judges; cliquing of judges leading to herd mentality; keeping of deadwood or non-performing judges in the judiciary; fixing of judges by assignment of cases; judicial rowdies who create chaos in the judiciary; and the Maharajalela – ones who just run amok; criminal intimidation of judges; and compliant judges who are too timid to stand up against wrongdoings.

It also includes reprisals against judges who refuse to toe the line; conspiracy and collusions between lawyers, ministers and judges to defraud and cheat the government; conspiracy to protect the ruling government to ensure that their position in the judiciary remains secure; conspiracy to suppress and oppress the opposition to prevent them from creating political upheaval; judges who assist governments in cases, rampant and culture of judicial frauds by manipulation; intellectual dishonesty in the judgments; and moral corruption, where there is no issue at all on legality of their judgments.

Then there are the judicial incompetence of judges but who are appointed; the cartel culture, where judges simply create groups to keep and promote their own kind; and hit squad judges to keep every judges in line and constitutional conspiracies by using the constitution to pursue unconstitutional gains.

DNC holds the view that Hamid must not be persecuted for his courage to speak up.

“He must be treated fairly. A whistle-blower must not be victimised as used to be under the past regime. All his complaints must be investigated to ascertain their truth. There must be no cover-up any quarters.”

Paul said if the allegations were found to be true, the law must take its course.

He emphasised that the federal government must act decisively and expeditiously with a sense of urgency on these alleged scandals. The international community is also watching, he cautioned.— DayakDaily