The Sept. 16 editorial "Jailed in Malaysia" is not only inaccurate but also betrays a lack of understanding of the constitutional provisions of Malaysia. The internationally accepted principle of separation of powers among the judicial, legislative and executive bodies is clearly defined in our federal constitution and observed. The Post fails to recognize the right of an independent judiciary to arrive at its judgment solely on the basis of the principles of law. The Murray Hiebert case involved two private individuals who sought justice. The government of Malaysia was not involved in any manner. Mr. Hiebert was found in contempt of the high court when he wrote the offending article and published it in the issue of the Far Eastern Economic Review on Jan. 23, 1997.

The court's powers to deal with contempt lie within the provisions of our laws--namely, the federal constitution, the Courts of Judicature Act of 1964, the rules of the high court and the common law. The concept is not alien and has its legacy from the Anglo-Saxon legal tradition. In the past, individuals have been cited for contempt and convicted. Mr. Hiebert was convicted not because he was a foreigner but because a private citizen in Malaysia exercised her rights as allowed under Malaysian law to protect her son's interests, bringing the high court's attention to Mr. Hiebert's article and its effects on her son's civil suit.

DATO' GHAZZALI S. A. KHALID

Ambassador

Embassy of Malaysia

Washington