At FORUM-ASIA, we employ a range of strategies to effectively achieve our goals and create a lasting impact.

Through a diverse array of approaches, FORUM-ASIA is dedicated to achieving our objectives and leaving a lasting imprint on human rights advocacy.

Who we work with

Our interventions are meticulously crafted and ready to enact tangible change, addressing pressing issues and empowering communities.

Each statements, letters, and publications are meticulously tailored, poised to transform challenges into opportunities, and to empower communities towards sustainable progress.

Multimedia Stories

With a firm commitment to turning ideas into action, FORUM-ASIA strives to create lasting change that leaves a positive legacy for future generations.

Explore our dedicated sub-sites to witness firsthand how FORUM-ASIA turns ideas into action, striving to create a legacy of lasting positive change for future generations.

Subscribe our monthly e-newsletter

Judiciary in Crisis, Whither the Rule of Law?

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

The eight-minute video clip recording of Malaysian senior lawyer in a phone conversation with the then-Chief Judge of Malaya Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim who now serves as the Chief Justice has sparked another conundrum in Malaysia’s judicial history. The misconduct not only questioned the weakening judiciary system under Badawi’s administration but whither the rule of law?
(Bangkok) The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) expresses concern over the disclosure that has tainted the integrity of the Malaysian’s judicial system. This has arisen from a video clip recorded sometime in year 2002 which showed senior lawyer V K Lingam in a phone conversation with a person who has been confirmed to be the then Chief Judge of Malaya Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim who is now the Chief Justice fixing the appointment of senior judges.

FORUM-ASIA’s open letter to Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi urged his government to establish a Royal Commission to truly investigate the judicial misconduct and immediately terminate Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim from his office despite the end of his term by mid-October this year. The appointment of an acting Chief Justice should then follow international principles on independence of the judiciary.

The eight-minute video clip was made public on 19 September by the People’s Justice Party (Parti Keadilan Rakyat, PKR) which has claims that the conversation also mentions the names of senior judges namely Datuk Heliliah, Datuk Ramli, Datuk Ma’roop, Dr. Andrew Chui, Zainuddin Ismail, Tan Sri Zainal, Tan Sri Wan Adnan, Tan Sri Shim and Tan Sri Chong, have been mentioned.

Public confidence on the justice system in Malaysia is once again being tested by this controversy. A public speech broke out into a riot on 8 September when police decided to halt the event.1 In the wake of the controversy, Prime Minister Ahmad Badawi has refused the setting up of the Royal Commission with the view that the three-member independent panel would probe and determine the authenticity of the tape is sufficient enough.2

Anselmo Lee, the Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA stressed that “the refusal of the Malaysian government to set up a Royal Commission undermines democracy and practice of the rule of law.” He further added that, “As a standing member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Malaysia should effectively promote judicial reform and restore judicial integrity without any delay and with strict adherence to international norms and standards.”

FORUM-ASIA urges Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to address the judicial misconduct by:-

  • Allowing the His Majesty the King to appoint one or two Commissioners to enquire into the setting up of the Royal Commission, based on Commission of Enquiry Act 1950 (Revised 1973)
  • Adopting the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary which emphasis on judicial impartiality and non-interference as an instrument of the rule of law
  • Setting up a permanent Independent Judicial Commission on the Appointment and Promotion of Judges to avoid unethical and unprofessional activities
  • Terminating the duty of the Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim and appoint an impartial and professional Chief Justice



Anselmo Lee
Executive Director

For further information, please contact:

Anselmo Lee, Executive Director, email [email protected], +66 (02) 3918801
Tadzrul T. Hamzah Southeast Asia Sub-region Programme Officer, email [email protected]

1 “Police chief: Ceramah location matters” 16 September 2007, Malaysiakini,
2 “PM: No need for royal commission” 21 September 2007, Malaysiakini,