Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim
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Tun Ahmad Fairuz bin Sheikh Abdul Halim (born November 1, 1941) is the former Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Malaysia. A controversial figure, he held that position from 2003 to 2007. In August 2007, he courted controversy by suggesting the abolishment of English Common Law to be replaced by Islamic Syariah Law. In September 2007, he was implicated in a 'judicial fixing' scandal. He retired in November 2007 and was replaced on November 2, 2007 by Abdul Hamid Mohamad as the Chief Justice.
Early life and education
Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim was born in Alor Setar, Kedah on 1 November 1941. He received his Bachelor of Laws from the National University of Singapore and later obtained his Master of Laws in International and Comparative Laws from the University of Brussels, Belgium.
He joined the Malaysian Judicial and Legal Service on 4 April 1967 as a Cadet Legal Officer and held various positions such as President of Sessions Court, State Legal Advisor and Chairman of the Advisory Board, Prime Minister's Department. On 1 December 1988 he was appointed Judicial Commissioner of High Court Malaya and was later appointed a High Court Judge. On 1 December 1995 he was elevated as a Court of Appeal Judge until his appointment as a Federal Court Judge on 1 September 2000.
Lingam Tape 'Judicial Fixing' Scandal
On September 19, 2007, online daily Malaysiakini broke a story on a tape released by former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, where senior lawyer V.K. Lingam was seen talking to someone believed to be the Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz. The grainy eight-minute video footage was taken in 2002 at Lingam’s Kelana Jaya house. At that time, Ahmad Fairuz was the Chief Judge of Malaya (judiciary's No. 3 post).
The video showed Lingam expressing concern that the outgoing CJ Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah was moving 'his men' into top judiciary posts. The conversation revolved around the urgent need to get Ahmad Fairuz appointed as Court of Appeal President (No. 2) and then Chief Justice (No. 1). Lingam expressed his plan to get tycoon Vincent Tan, a close ally of then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, and Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, a minister in PM's Department to talk to Mahathir on the appointment of judges. Allegedly, this was in return for Ahmad Fairuz's "suffering" in the election petition cases in the past where Ahmad Fairuz had ruled against the Opposition.
Following the revelation, over 2,000 lawyers heeding the call of the Malaysian Bar Council walked from the Palace of Justice to the Prime Minister's Department to demand the Prime Minister to set up a Royal Commission to investigate. On November 17, 2007, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced that a Royal Commission would be set up to investigate the matter. Ahmad Fairuz denied his involvement, and Anwar responded that he "would love to see him (Ahmad Fairuz) defend himself in the dock as to whether he was lying."
The Royal Commission's methods of arriving at certain conclusions, however, have been criticised by some. They claim that the alleged conversation was a monologue, and, therefore, the Commission could not have reliably confirmed who was at the other end of the line. The Commission neither established that the phone call had come from Ahmad Fairuz, nor made a connection between the two, as even Lingam's secretary testified that to her knowledge Ahmad Fairuz had never tried to contact Lingam at his office.
He is married to Mazni bt Mohd Noor and they have two children.
- Thomas Bell (1 September 2007). "Malaysia considers switch to Islamic law". Telegraph.
- Stefan J. Bos (30 May 2007). "Malaysia's Christian Joy Loses Islam Conversion Case". BosNewsLife.
- "Panel finds Lingam video clip authentic". TheStar. May 10, 2008.