KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 8 — Former Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi’s biography details not just his achievements, but also opinions from his critics, the author said today.
Premilla Mohanlall, author of No Nonsense: The Authorised Biography of Zaki Azmi, The 12th Chief Justice of Malaysia, said at the launch of the book that Zaki did not want a “glib catalogue for his achievements”.
“In fact, he took to emailing me bad press in the alternative media. And there was plenty of that about. I also interviewed a few of his critics to get their perspective. This biography is thus populated with friendly, neutral and hostile voices and incidents.
“Whitewashing the dirt is not Tun Zaki’s way,” Premilla said, addressing the crowd during the book launch here today.
Zaki, who spontaneously decided to speak to the crowd, candidly informed them that he did not want to pay anyone to write the book.
“When (Datuk Professor) Sundra Rajoo proposed the idea, I was very reluctant about it. I said I don’t know how to write a book. He said he will get someone to write it for me. I said yeah, you can do that but I’m not going to pay for it because if I did, that person will only write good things about me,” joked Zaki.
Former Inspector General of Police Tun Hanif Omar, who launched the book, highlighted one of Zaki’s most illustrious achievements — his successful reformation of Malaysia’s judiciary administrative processes.
“For the first time ever, judges were given key performance indicators (KPI) and performance was appraised by the number of cases disposed. It caused quite a stir, some of my friends told me. But it succeeded, speeding up the wheels of justice.
“He may not have done much in terms of jurisprudence because he was only there for three years. His enduring legacy is the administrative reforms which shook up the judiciary back then but it remains embedded now and for the future,” said Malaysia’s former top cop.
Zaki’s impact on increasing the efficiency of Malaysia’s judiciary processes was so successful that in 2011, the World Bank made a recommendation for countries facing judicial backlog to take note and study the reforms he made.
Among the reforms he made included ensuring that cases must be resolved in nine months’ time and implementing a 40 per cent pay hike for judges.
The biography is roughly 300 pages long and is sold at RM80. Proceeds from the sale will go to the Tun Azmi Foundation.
Zaki was chief justice from 2008 to 2011.