Press Statement
Chief Registrar’s order for judicial officers to attend Lokman Adam’s ‘ceramah’ proves rampant politicisation of judiciary under BN
9 August 2018

We refer to the recent denial by the Chief Registrar of the Federal Court that the BTN courses for judges were political or intended to brainwash judges and registrars.

We have now received new evidence indicating concerted attempts to politicise the judiciary under Najib and the BN regime.

The Chief Registrar of the Federal Court Dato Latifah Mohd Tahar had directed judicial officers and court registrars to attend a ‘ceramah’ by Dato Lokman Noor Adam on the ‘ economic policy’ of the BN government on 24th May 2017. The event was held at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya, and attendance was made compulsory.

Among those forced to attend were Deputy Registrars, Senior Assistant Registrars and special officers to the CJ and the Appellate judges.

Lokman Adam is an Umno leader and staunch supporter of former PM Najib Razak. At the time of the ceramah, he held a political appointment at the Ministry of Finance which was helmed by Najib himself. (On 15th May 2018, this political appointment enjoyed by Lokman Adam was terminated by the new PH government.)

Lokman was also the Umno candidate in the recent Sungai Kandis by-election; this shows the strength of his Umno credentials.

Why did the Chief Registrar order compulsory attendance of our judicial officers for a ceramah by a prominent Umno political appointee? What was the actual content of this ‘economics’ ceramah?

There can be no reasonable or acceptable ground for such a ceramah. Judges are concerned with the law, and not the economic policy of the government in power.

The simple fact of the matter, is that having Umno’s Lokman Adam as the invited speaker, made it a political event under the guise of an ‘economics’ talk.

This is in flagrant breach of the doctrine of separation of powers and the concept of an independent judiciary.

Lokman Adam has no economic qualifications. If for whatever reason it was truly intended to give judges a proper lecture on economics, why were university economics professors or qualified economists not invited as speakers?

Taken together with the BTN and TN50 courses revealed earlier, this amounts to a rampant politicisation and indoctrination of the judiciary.

It should be remembered that the same Chief Registrar who organised the 3 BTN courses and TN50 program in 2018 also organised the Lokman Adam ceramah. The government has changed, but this Chief Registrar occupies the same position. She must now be relieved of her position pending further inquiry or investigations.

This latest revelation also raises the question as to what other dubious and politically flavoured activities had been carried out over the years upon judges and judicial officers.

The new Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum must give assurances that the independence of the judiciary will be zealously guarded henceforth. There must be no contamination of the judiciary by ceramahs, programs or lectures involving the executive.

In particular, Najib Razak and former DPM Zahid Hamidi must also explain who authorised this tampering with judges during the BN regime.

The extent of the damage done to the judiciary under the previous regime must also be investigated and remedied.

With these incriminating new disclosures, the matter cannot just be swept under the carpet.
An independent panel of enquiry must be formed to look into the matter.

We have received information from many honest and conscientious judicial officers who are concerned and disturbed over what has happened, and are prepared to testify before such a panel.

Released by:
N Surendran
Lawyers for Liberty