Sunday, September 19, 2010

CJ to meet Johor, Penang Bars

The Sunday Star
by Shaila Koshy

KUALA LUMPUR: Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi will meet representatives of the Johor and Penang Bars over their complaints on judicial measures to clear the backlog of cases and improve the administration of justice.

“I will meet the Johor Bar on Thursday. I received a letter from the Penang Bar requesting for a meeting and am in the process of fixing a date,” Zaki told The Star yesterday.

He said this when asked about a report in The Star yesterday on the discontent that had been expressed by certain members of the Johor Bar and the Penang Bar.

The grouses include judges who take the directive not to grant postponements literally or carry on with trials even without counsel present.

Last week, at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM), the Johor Bar appointed a five-man taskforce to gather feedback about members’ problems as a result of judges being measured by Key Performance Indicators.

The taskforce comprises former Bar Council chairmen Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari and Datuk Yeo Yang Poh, former Johor Bar Committee chairman S. Gunasegaran, former council member Roger Tan and Norman Fernandez.

Asked whether they would be able to get feedback in time for their meeting, Kuthubul said they had sent out survey forms to members on Friday to be returned by Tuesday.

“We took down some complaints at the EGM and we are meeting members at 4pm on Monday (tomorrow) again.

“We are in the midst of preparing a memorandum for the Chief Justice.”

Asked whether they would name names, like judges who take the directive not to grant postponements or carry on with trials even without counsel present just to meet targets for disposal of cases, Kuthubul said they had asked members to name the judges they had problems with.

On whether names would be included in the memorandum as lawyers have generally shied away from doing so at the last minute, even though Zaki has said it made it difficult to deal with a possibly errant judge if he or she remained nameless, Kuthubul replied: “We will name them this time.”

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