HAS UTUSAN MALAYSIA COMMITTED CONTEMPT OF COURT


We claim to be a democratic society. We are guided by a written constitution. Article 10 of the Federal Constitution provides for the freedom of speech and expression with the caveat that Parliament may by law impose such restrictions as may be deemed necessary.

We as a nation of diverse people are very familiar with all forms of regulations both written and unwritten which curtails our freedom of speech and expression. Further we are all too familiar with the modus operandi of the main stream print media which is basically the propaganda machinery of the politicians in power.

Therefore, freedom of the press is premised on meeting the requirements of the Printing and Publications Act. As such the government of the day has ensured that freedom of the press is not a fundamental right under our constitution.

Nevertheless, the press has a role to play when it publishes proceedings in a criminal proceeding, especially in the case of Anwar’s Sodomy 11 trial. The press has a right to publish fair comments on matters of public interest.

However, in the case of Utusan Malaysia (UM) it has published comments that would tend to prejudice a fair trial. For starters its headline is most spectacular. It reads:

“Alasan Saiful berhenti kerja dengan majikannya, Anwar Ibrahim”

TAK RELA DILIWAT LAGI

Then in its publication it reports, “Berhenti kerana tidak mahu diliwat lagi” which on being translated would mean, “ Resigned because he did not want to be sodomised again”

Now how does the report sound to all right thinking people? Is this not scandalous? Has not Utusan Maklaysia’s publication and its statements been written in such a way where it has been calculated to prejudice a fair trial and the course of justice? Does the statement not amount to scandalizing the proceedings in court? And is the statement not a contempt in the face of the court?

On Friday last week, Anwar’s Counsel Karpal Singh brought the publication to the attention of Justice Mohamad Zabidin Md Diah. The judge failed to initiate contempt proceedings against UM. Neither did the judge having the inherent summary powers bestowed on the court, caution UM.

The inaction of the judge led Anwar’s defence lawyers to file an application in court this morning to “Disqualify the Judge” from continuing to hear Anwar’s case as the judge was biased and generally in the eyes of the general public the judge was not acting reasonably and in accordance with the oath of office that he has taken that is to “faithfully discharge my judicial duties in that office to the best of my ability, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to Malaysia, and will preserve, protect and defend its Constitution.”

The question is: is it not the duty of the judge to make it known to UM that whilst the court does recognize UM’s role to report news with fair comments on the trial, that the court will not hesitate to send the editor to prison in the event that UM were to publish such statements which are calculated to prejudice the course of justice.

If the judge had done so, he would have made it known to UM and UMNO and the public that he would not permit such sort of things to happen and that the editors of news papers would realize that the arm of the law was strong enough to reach them if they disobey a court order.

If that had only happened, the public would have saluted the judge for being impartial and in dispensing justice in accordance with the law. But now it appears that the law is not maintained in its full integrity.

The judge should be aware that no judge has power but duties to be performed to the best of their ability. If only the judge had executed his duties well then the people would say give him a chance but unfortunately he failed. He has forfeited the confidence the court of public opinion has on him. As such he will never regain the peoples respect and esteem.

Therefore if UM wants to be virtuous it must first demonstrate that it has a duty to publish fair comments on Anwar’s trial and ignore all its inclinations with UMNO. If not lying in its publications would become normal. In such an event the concept of truth and lying would disappear.

In such a situation we would be living in a nation where our language, logic and the meaning of all our communication in our daily interaction would naturally disappear into the limbo of some form of nightmarish illogical vacuum.

As Aristotle said: “Individuals must accept responsibility for their voluntary actions which involve others “ And in this light we hope that the Judge will discharge himself from continuing to hear Anwar’s  case as of 09.02.2010 or else we would only have inward disintegration in our judicial process.

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One Response to “HAS UTUSAN MALAYSIA COMMITTED CONTEMPT OF COURT”

  1. boscopa Says:

    Yes.

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