‘Dr M shouldn’t be meeting the likes of the Chief Justice’
Tuesday, 22 May 2018

The Star

PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad should not have had a one-on-one meeting with Chief Justice Tun Md Raus Sharif, says lawyer Datuk Roger Tan.

This is due to the importance of maintaining a strict respect for the doctrine of separation of powers.

“With all due respect, any meeting of four eyes in the absence of others between the heads of the executive and judiciary should not take place.

“The Chief Justice should have politely declined the Prime Minister’s request to meet even though there were allegations of such occurrences taking place between the previous chief justices and prime ministers,” he said in a Facebook post.

Tan said he was concerned to read that Md Raus was among those called in to meet Dr Mahathir last Tuesday.

He said he agreed with Dr Mahathir’s remarks that the three pillars of the country – the executive, legislature and judiciary – would be separated and that the rule of law would be restored.

Campaigning for Pakatan Harapan, which was then the Opposition, may have made Dr Mahathir see how important it was to uphold the separation of powers and the independence of public institutions, said Tan.

The senior lawyer said this was important as state machinery like the Election Commission, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), police and others could be abused and used so easily by incumbents to their advantage.

“Hence, the institutions must be rebuilt to prevent a repetition because there may never be another Dr Mahathir for a long time to come.

“If he succeeds, it will be the greatest legacy he will leave behind for many, many generations to come,” said Tan.

Meanwhile, he also called on Malaysians not to persuade Dr Mahathir to change his mind on his stance not to take on the ministerial portfolio of Education.

He said it was a good legacy which Dr Mahathir should leave behind so that his successors would not use that excuse in future to helm other powerful ministries, especially Finance.

“Some Mentris Besar in some states are already holding additional portfolios, especially Finance and Natural Resources.”

Tan said he had observed a change in Dr Mahathir from an autocratic leader to one who was prepared to make decisions based on consensus.

“Some say he may have repented. Others say he may have now realised the damage done during his previous rule when the independence of various public institutions, especially the judiciary, had been compromised,” Tan said.