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Nazri, In totidem verbis

It has taken some time but I finally sat down and read thru NST’s interview with Nazri Aziz on 28th October 2007 (link).

So lets go thru some of the Q&A’s, building up a list of Nazri logic statements (oh what a goldmine of comic material!). I will use the term ATN (According To Nazri) to refer to Nazri Logic (in italics) and Sidenotes for anything extra.

Q: Is there a crisis in the judiciary? Why is there a perception of there being one?

A: There isn’t a crisis. It’s a false allegation.

The perception has been created by some people. When I go back to my constituency, nobody talks about it.

When people do not go to the courts to settle their disputes, that’s when there’s a crisis. But I don’t see that.

The few people who are unhappy, make a lot of noise. It is reported, people read, and think there is a crisis.

Crisis means it involves the whole country but nobody talks about it. I even asked my fellow members of parliament (MP) but nobody talks about it. So, what crisis are we talking about?

The crisis is in the minds of those who created it.

ATN #1 Crisis is defined as ‘a condition of instability or danger, as in social, economic, political, or international affairs, leading to a decisive change.’

According to Nazri though, a crisis exists if:

  1. People do not go to courts to settle disputes
  2. People in his constituency talk about it when he is around
  3. It is reported in the media
  4. Members of Parliament talk about it

So following those conditions, lets see – there was a march, so item 1 is in. This video scandal has received significant coverage from the local media, so item 3 is in. Lim Kit Siang and Wan Azizah have brought up this judicial crisis, so item 4 is in. Therefore just because Nazri’s constituents do not talk about when he is around, there is no crisis?

Q: Some 1,000-2,000 lawyers were involved in the Bar Council walk. Are you saying that that many lawyers have been misled?

A: Only 1,000 went to the ground. There are 13,000 registered members of the Bar.

Q: You don’t think 1,000 is enough?

A: 1,000 of 13,000 — is that a majority? What’s the big deal?

In a democracy, the minority cannot control the majority. The minority does not speak for the majority.

Q: Aren’t the views of the minority also important?

A: But (they are) not (the) majority. If there are any decisions to be made, it has got to be the majority.

Q: So, if you wanted to be convinced (that there is a crisis), you would need 7,000 lawyers to walk?

A: Even then, it’s still not important to us, because the lawyers are not the only people who use the courts. The ordinary people use the court in their disputes.

It must be a majority of the population who feel that there is a crisis. Otherwise, there is nothing.

Q: Do you really want that many people marching in the streets?

A: No. You don’t have to have millions of people marching in the streets. Let the people decide, whether there is a crisis or not, through the legal means of sharing your dissent or anger — through the ballot box.

ATN #2 Any protest by a minority cannot be allowed to bring about change that also affects the majority. For that to happen the majority must also protest. According to Nazri in the matter of the judicial system, because everyone in the nation makes use of it the majority of the nation must protest.

Even if every single lawyer in the nation showed up at Nazri’s doorstep, it would mean nothing. The majority of the nation’s people must show up.

ATN #3 If any crisis occurs, citizens must wait for elections to occur – no form of protest will be acknowledged.

Q: You’re the de-facto Law Minister. And they are not asking for a sacking — they are asking for a more transparent appointment system.

A: We’re talking about the independence of the judiciary. I don’t speak for the judges. You want to clean up the judiciary, go and speak to the judge.

Sidenote #1 Nazri does indeed speak for at least one judge – Tun Ahmad Fairuz. Liar.

Q: But if we had a transparent system, perhaps all judicial appointees would be acceptable to the people.

A: But if you have a royal commission for the appointment and promotion of judges, you might not agree with the decision, too, because members of the royal commission are also human beings.

Tell me, who appoints the commission? The system is the same. The appointment of the commission will be made by the king, on the advice of the prime minister.

The commission would be there, but the Bar Council will not be happy, and then you’ll have another system (change).

Q: Can the commission be appointed by consensus or stakeholders?

A: Why stakeholders? Stakeholders are people too. Do you want to have an election?

You know what will happen — people will campaign to become members of the commission and then they’ll be compromised, because they want to be chosen by the people.

And then the judges will have to kow tim (settle) with them again — it’s the same thing.

Are we to change just because 1,000 lawyers are unhappy? The Constitution must be amended by two-thirds of MPs; and the two-thirds represent the majority of the people.

If we MPs are not convinced, how can we amend the Constitution? We can’t listen to the views of just 1,000 lawyers. Since when was the view of 1,000 lawyers more important than that of the 11 million who voted for us?

Lawyers are not the only stakeholders. It is also the people in the streets — they are the ones who go to court.

ATN #4 Human beings are fallible. According to Nazri, any body of individuals appointed by one person or persons(s) is therefore flawed and unreliable. Anyone who campaigns for an election is compromised (corrupt). The lack of transparency in the appointment of judges is therefore a non-issue.

You just can’t trust humans after all, including the de facto Law Minister – after all, he was elected wasn’t he?

ATN #5 Because members of a Royal Commission might make decisions that the people might not like, it doesn’t make sense to create one.

Indirectly Nazri is saying that the government would only want Commissions that make decisions that they know about before hand, good or bad. I’ll admit that is a good tactic for people in power to use, but just blurting it out in an interview is damnably foolish.

ATN #6 Since members of a Royal Commission are corrupt, judges (who are all corrupt apparently, ATN) will have to kow tim (settle) with them.

Settle? Sounds like bribery – is Nazri saying that he knows for a fact that all judges will bribe their way up the ladder? And that is ok? Read the next quote.

Q: You have said the government was happy with the current system of appointments. Why?

A: We found that the system works for us. We inherited this system (from the British), and for 50 years it has served us well. Something which has not brought us any problem, why should we change?

If we need to change this system, we would need a clear indication from the judiciary.

Even then, before you change you have to go and see the Malay rulers. Out of courtesy, you have to tell them.

Any slight change, we have to see the Malay rulers first. Once they agree, then you’ve got to get the agreement of the judges also, because this involves them.

I am only interested in no interference by the Executive. When I became minister in charge of the judiciary, I wanted to make sure that what happened 20 years ago should not happen now. So, please do not ask us to interfere with the judiciary.

ATN #7 The current corrupt system of judicial appointments is OK because it has been working for BN for the past 50 years.

Sidenote #2 The minister in charge of the judiciary cannot look into allegations of corruption? That that is considered interference? He did state that if people have a problem with the judiciary then they should go see the judges. So what is this minister in charge of? Sigh..time to get another Akta book for my collection 😉

Q: Is the tenure of the chief justice going to be extended?

A: I don’t know. I don’t know anything.

Sidenote #3 I know I’m being catty for saying this, but how nice of Nazri to say he does not know anything! At least he is aware at some level of his lack of knowledge.

Q: If you just take into account what is printed in the media and what comes out in the blogs, it would appear that there is a crisis in the judiciary.

A: To me, if there were no newspapers, if there were no blogs, then it’s just mere chit-chat in the coffeeshop. That’s all.

Q: Coffeeshop chit-chat is not important?

No. The people are important. This is a government elected by the people, for the people. So, people means the majority.

If we didn’t have blogs, if we didn’t have newspapers, who in this world would know about it? But because of technological developments, you are able to chit-chat (about it). It’s just chit-chat.

ATN #8 What is printed in the media is not important, because where the media not to exist then it is just coffeeshop chit-chat. Coffeeshop chit-chat is not important. Media content = chit-chat = not important.

This is amusing because ATN #1 states that people in Nazri’s constituency must talk about an issue to consider it a crisis – is he talking about dinner table conversation instead?

Q: But the fear that is felt is genuine.

A: So what do you want me to do? Ban all these bloggers? Shut down all the newspapers? I don’t think so.

We must live with the fact that this is now a modern world. Technology has enabled us to get to know each other so news gets moved faster.

ATN #9 If something is causing fear in the nation, the expected government action would be to remove the medium of communication (ban newspapers and blogs), not deal with the source of fear.

Q: Maybe walking just says that they are partisan towards justice?

A: I wasn’t complaining about their memorandum. It was the way they did it — demonstrating on the street. The opposition was there.

When you go on the street, how are you going to stop the opposition from coming in?

In a meeting with the PM, those who are the opposition — who are not genuine lawyers — cannot go in.

You should be apolitical. You are an NGO, you are not an opposition party. You have stature, you’ve got a position in public, people look at you with respect.

But the moment you take to the street, who is going to respect you? They’ll laugh at you. There are people who are laughing at you — but they don’t write in the papers Bodoh punya kerja! (fool’s errand).

ATN #10 Demonstrating in the streets is the equivalent of running around naked – nobody is going to respect you but will laugh at you instead.

Huh? I cannot recall a single demonstration by a group of 1000+ people where others watching them pointed and laughed. Maybe that’s what Nazri does in his Ivory Wisma – playback a collection of political demonstration videos and point and laugh at the television.

Q: Is there anything wrong in walking for your beliefs?

A: No. But that is the way of the opposition. If you are a political party, we can understand. But if you are a respectable society, that’s not an honourable way to do it — not when the government accords you respect.

How can you bring yourself so low? The moment you do that, we don’t respect you.

If I say to you, “M****r*****r you!”, can you say, “Eh, let us sit down, we’ll talk about it.” No!

ATN #11 Insulting someone removes any chance of forgiveness. Humans in Nazri’s world do not forgive.

Poor man, he must have faced a lot of cold shoulders growing up. Look at him now, using foul language in an interview knowing full well it will be published.

Q: The Bar Council claims that they have never been able to get an appointment with the CJ.

A: He’s retiring anyway.

I told them, “Fairuz is also a human being. Kalau you criticise, criticise, criticise dia — dia mana mau layan you.” (If you keep criticising him, he won’t entertain you).

I can get a lot of things out of you if I talk to you nicely, but if I start shouting at you, do you think you will accommodate me? No way!

Q: But you are more than an ordinary person. You are also the de facto law minister.

A: But you cannot divorce me from the fact that I am also a human being.

Q: That’s very irresponsible.

A: Human beings, there are ways, how you do it. You want something, you talk. You don’t shout, and then expect to get something, no way.

ATN #12 Shouting at people will never get what you want. Human beings must be treated with politeness and respect.

This is great considering Nazri is such a foul mouthed disrespectful minister in Parliament.

Q: Why didn’t the government empower the panel to compel witnesses?

A: Because we have to first determine the authenticity of the video clip, to make it into a formal and genuine complaint.

Sidenote #4 This is quite revealing – apparently Nazri does not consider the report lodged by Sim and Sivarasa to be a genuine complaint. You know what that means? The complaint and resulting investigation is not bound by the secrecy requirements laid out in the Anti Corruption Act.

Q: What if the video clip is genuine, but the person doesn’t want to come forward?

A: That’s not our problem. We have already set up the panel, it’s for them.

As I’ve said, if I was the one who made the complaint, I would be very happy, I’d come (forward) and co-operate. There’s nothing to fear.

(Opposition MP Lim) Kit Siang said to me this morning (Wednesday) the problem is not that they are afraid of the public taking action against them; but they are afraid of the government.

I think that’s no excuse.

Sidenote #5 Nazri admits that Lim Kit Siang spoke to him about Whistle Blower. But didn’t Nazri state in ATN #1 that fellow MPs do not talk about the matter? Apparently Lim Kit Siang is not an MP in Nazri’s eyes.

Q: If people come forward and give their statements to the panel, and the authenticity of the video clip is verified, what would the next step be?

A: If it was verified to be true, the next step would be to investigate the judiciary, the person there.

Q: Using what?

A: Maybe a royal commission.

Sidenote #6 Well at least Nazri is being consistent – even if Whistle Blower came forward a Royal Commission may not be formed. Why? Because ATN #4 and ATN #5 say so.

Q: There is less than two weeks for people to come forward with what they have. Are you hoping that they will?

A: I hope so. We set up the panel to investigate the authenticity of the tape.

Come forward, lah. Apa nak takut? Takkan kita nak bantai orang kita! (What’s there to be afraid of? We won’t beat up our own people!)

Every five years, we put ourselves up as candidates for election. If we do something wrong, do you think that people will let you go just like that? No way!

ATN #13 The Government does not beat up its own people.

Yes it does. This year alone the incidents in Batu Buruk and Kampung .. are shocking, truely shocking cases of government brutality.

Q: Maybe the informants’ concern is not so much the government, but that the parties in the video clip might take action against them.

A: But that is something beyond us. Even for us, if we do something, the lawyer can also take action against us.

It is not only the informant who will be left unprotected, the government can also be sued by the lawyer.

But that’s how it is. We can only do certain things. Beyond what we can do, we can’t promise. Even the panel can be sued.

Sidenote #7 The Panel can be sued? To the Panel members : How’s it feel guys, to read that you are potential scape goats if the Government ever gets in trouble over this matter, for coming to the wrong findings.

I really like how ballsy NST is – it looks like BN has lost their total control 🙂 FYI, ‘In totidem verbis’ means ‘In so many words’.


Written by ak57

November 9, 2007 at 12:27 am

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