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Jun 27, 2008

Abdullah bias for party over public

malaysianinsider - [...] Between now and December, expect glacial progress on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's reform agenda.

Expect him to speak occasionally about judicial reforms and other changes to institutions and policies demanded by many Malaysians.

Expect him to restate his commitment to clean up the country. But more than anything else, expect Abdullah to defer to the wishes of his colleagues in Umno, who have recovered from the shock of Election 2008 and are showing their disdain for reform.

With branch and division meetings around the corner, he appears to have taken his foot off the reform agenda in favour of finding support with the party rank and file.

This could explain why he chose to be silent when cabinet ministers from Umno shot down legislation on the proposed Judicial Appointments Commission during their weekly meeting last Wednesday.

He knows that the plan to have a commission shortlist candidates for appointments to the Bench is not popular with Umno politicians. They believe that the commission comprising lawyers, former judges and Bar Council representatives will lead to more non-Malays being made judges.The critics envision a day when the commission will limit the PM's choices, leading to a non-Malay being appointed as chief justice.

So for now the main plank of the much trumpeted judicial reform is drifting. And it may not be salvaged anytime soon. Tellingly some of the harshest critics of the judicial reforms have been Abdullah's close allies, including Internal Security Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar and Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob.

Adnan said recently that there was too much focus on the shortcomings of the judiciary. He also dismissed moves to amend the Constitution and make clear the separation of powers.... selanjutnya.


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