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Malaysia top judge indicates support for proposed judicial reform

[JURIST] Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Malaysia Abdul Hamid Mohamad [official profile] indicated his support Wednesday for the creation of an independent body to govern the appointment and promotion of judges, reportedly telling a group of judges that it would help "regain the confidence of the public in the judiciary." In March, newly appointed Malaysian Law Minister Zaid Ibrahim [firm profile] proposed creating an independent appointment body [JURIST report] to ensure both an independent judiciary and greater transparency in the appointment process. Zaid's proposals were immediately backed by the Malaysian Bar Council.

In September 2007, approximately 2,000 lawyers and activists protested [press release; JURIST report] in Malaysia's capital, calling for an investigation into judicial corruption. The protest was sparked by the release of a 2001 video [Malaysian Bar Council report and streaming video] showing prominent Malaysian lawyer V.K. Lingam on the phone with someone who is believed to be former Malaysian Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim brokering Halim's appointment to become chief justice. In January, Lingam claimed he must have been intoxicated [JURIST report] in the video when he appeared to be arranging for the appointment of "friendly" senior judges during an official inquiry into the incident. An inquiry panel has yet to release its findings about the incident. AP has more.

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