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Karpal publically challenges Chief Justice - malaysiakini

Malaysiakini's report:

Veteran lawyer and DAP supremo Karpal Singh has challenged Chief Justice Zaki Azmi to sue him for defamation if his statements purporting Zaki to be guilty of corruption and of lying on the matter have been wrong.


“I dare him to sue me. Either he's right or I am right. One of us is not,” Karpal said today after submitting a letter addressed to Yang Dipertuan Agong Mizan Zainal Abidin on the issue of Zaki's appointment.

karpal singh police report tun mahathir 230508While this is not the first time that Karpal has issued such an ultimatum to the CJ, he said today that he is ready to be fined and/or imprisoned and stripped of his status as member of parliament and barred from standing in the next general election if found guilty of libel.

“I can be fined and I can be imprisoned. It’s a very serious matter to defame criminally the chief justice of the country,” he told reporters outside the gates of Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur this morning.

“But I am prepared to take the risk because, to my mind, what he has said was in fact said. There is no doubt about it in my mind. He has not denied it.”

zaki azmi chief justice installation event 291008 03Zaki (left) had been quoted in the New Straits Times on Nov 8 last year as saying: "It took me six months (as a practising lawyer) to be nice, to bribe each and every individual to get back into their good books before our files were attended to.

“That was my personal experience and I am telling this to all the clerks and all the registries to stop this nonsense.”

Although Zaki has issued a clarification and claimed that the reporter had misinterpreted him, Karpal accused Zaki of lying.

Karpal also said that since the English daily has not retracted its report and Zaki has not asked for this either, the odds are stacked against the chief justice rather than the publication. Karpal had earlier said there is an audio recording of Zaki’s reported ‘confession’.

He noted that the fact that Zaki sits at the pinnacle of one of three branches of government makes it even more urgent for him to step down.

“We cannot have a chief justice who is, in fact, corrupt. It’s as simple as that. In fact, I dare the chief justice to sue me for defamation if he thinks he’s right. It’s as simple as that,” said Karpal, who is also Bukit Gelugor MP.

Another seven-day deadline

He further said the controversy leaves little room for him and Zaki to remain in their post, should both happen be in the same court room over a legal matter.

“He cannot keep quiet. He cannot allow this issue to be just left unattended and dismiss it out of hand and hope that it flies over because it can’t fly over. In fact, I have to appear before the chief justice in the Federal Court.

“It’s going to be very embarrassing with him sitting there and me sitting in front of him. I dare him to sue me, because that’s the only way out. Either he’s right or I am right. Both cannot be right. One has to go. Either he goes or I go.”

Karpal has previously called for Zaki’s resignation, lodging a police report on the matter, writing to the prime minister, and submitting an emergency motion to Parliament. Yesterday, he submitted another motion endorsed by 63 MPs.

sultan mizan zainal abidin the new agong agung kingAs such, he said his move to get the attention of the Council of Rulers and Agong (right) is the measure of last resort.

Karpal said he hopes the council - of which a former Lord President, Perak Sultan Azlan Shah, is a member - will hold an emergency meeting to review Zaki’s position, in light of his admission which only occurred after his appointment.

“They are duty-bound to hold a meeting to review the advice (to the Agong) to appoint Zaki as the chief justice... It would be a sad day for the country to have a self-admitted corrupt chief justice.

“A chief justice must be above suspicion. Yet, this chief justice has publicly admitted guilt of corruption, and corruption is one of the most serious offences. If he remains silent for the next seven days, I shall deem him to be guilty of what he said he has done.”

Malaysiakini attempted to contact the chief justice today for reaction, but was told he was at a meeting. A request has been emailed to his office for comments -