[JURIST] Approximately 2000 lawyers and activists, led by the Malaysian Bar Council [profession website], launched a large protest [press release] in Malaysia's capital, Wednesday, calling for an investigation into judicial corruption. Unrest has grown in the country following last week's release of a 2002 video [Bar Council report and streaming video] showing a prominent lawyer on the phone with someone who is believed to be current Malaysian Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim [Wikipedia profile], arranging the appointment of "friendly" senior judges. The lawyer discusses the possibility of Halim's own promotion to chief justice, which later occurred in 2003. The Bar Council ignored government requests [Bar Council report] to call off the protest.
The Malaysian Bar Council organized the march to show solidarity as it handed two memorandums to Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi [official website]. The first memorandum [PDF in English] calls for the establishment of an independent judicial commission to investigate the state of the judiciary, while the second memorandum [PDF in Malay and English] calls for a commission on judicial appointments and promotion. Prior to the march, the Malaysian government established a three-person panel to investigate the video [Star report], but the Bar Council said this failed to address the broader issues of corruption. AP has more.