Friday, 18 April 2008

Justice was served

PM pays tribute to Tun Salleh and Supreme Court judges sacked in 1988

It was a dinner for lawyers and friends, graced by former judges, and the guest of honour was the Prime Minister.

But as expected, it turned out to be much more.

The Malaysian Bar Council dinner saw the closure of a very painful chapter in the history of the country’s judiciary and hopefully the start of a new one to renew the public’s trust in the courts.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced several measures to reform the judiciary but to many in attendance, what was more important was the tribute he paid to the six Supreme Court judges who were sacked in 1988, which he described as a legacy that still haunted the nation.

Turning to former Lord President Tun Salleh Abas, Tan Sri Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, Datuk George Seah, the families of the late Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawan Teh and Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader, the Prime Minister said the Government wanted to recognise “their commitment towards upholding justice and to acknowledge the pain and loss they have endured.”

Stopping short of an apology as suggested by his de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim a few weeks ago, Abdullah said:

“For me and for many other Malaysians, these towering judicial personalities represent a very different era for the nation’s judiciary. Many feel that the judiciary then was a venerable institution that could be trusted to deliver justice.

Some even hailed Malaysia’s judiciary as a model for other countries – independent and credible.

“This level of trust and respect for the judiciary, we must all admit, is simply not as strong as it was before.”

Abdullah also announced goodwill ex gratia payments to the six sacked judges and their surviving families as recognition of their contribution, but quickly added:

“I do not presume to equate your contributions, pain and loss with mere currency, but I hope that you can accept this as a heartfelt and sincere gesture to mend what has been.”

He also addressed the need to renew the public’s trust in the nation’s judiciary and “to ensure that justice is consistently delivered.”

Abdullah urged the judiciary, lawyers and the nation to move on, as it was not “wise or helpful to revisit past decisions as it would only serve to prolong the sense of crisis – something our nation can do without."

At the end of his speech entitled Delivering Justice, Renewing Trust, Abdullah was given a standing ovation.

Among those who got off his seat first was Salleh, who shook the Prime Minister’s hand warmly as he got down from the stage.

In the words of Abdullah, the time had come to write a proud and new chapter. --- The Star

Read also here: A New Chapter in the Malaysian Judiciary

Pix:(Courtesy of The Sun) - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi shakes hand with former chief justice Tun Salleh Abbas during his attend Bar Council dinner. Also with them chief justice Datuk Abdul Hamid Mohamad (right))


Anonymous said...

yep, justice was served again to the SIL of PM and SIL of Salleh Abas.
yes. yes. yes. justice has been served in silver platter to them.

Anonymous said...

Just hope that the PM will walk the talk this time around and not leave the proposals as proposals and nothing more.

vesewe said...


UMNO Boleh Masuk Kubur - DAP!

Strategi peminggiran orang melayu oleh orang cina





Hi&Lo said...

Like all greats, Tun Salleh Abas, unwavered in his convictions, had to suffer great humiliation for his integrity. Pure gold must go through the crucible of fire.

The law is not a business, but is about values. The law is a reflection of our collective will, meant to regulate society and commerce.

People take the law into their own hands when they have lost confidence in the justice system.

Lawlessness will reign if the courts are seen as a tool of the rich and powerful to crush the poor.

Kholeed said...

It is a very belated good beginning. Do you think Abdullah Badawi would be shaking hand with Salleh Abbas if not for the dismal BN performance in the recent election? Obviously the rakyat has made a wise voting decision, pushing the government to reform. However, if the PM is truly honest about judicial reform, this would have have happened long before election! Pure hypocrisy

Anonymous said...

Ex-gratia to the ex-judges to right the wrong.

Guess, everybody has a price.

novice101 said...

We are talking about Fairness, aren't we!

Knowing the constraints the PM is facing and the difficult situation he is in, he deserves to be commended for what he has done. The wronged judges there last night expressed satisfaction with what was proposed by the PM. This matter should be left with the PM to take it forward for its implementation.

There may be some who are are still dissatisfied, they think the PM has not gone far enough. Let us give credit where credit is due. In the past 20 years of Mahathir's rule, no one had managed to nudge Mahathir an inch! Now, AAB has, on his own volition (albeit with some pressure from the GE12 result), has instituted some changes. This is more than what Mahathir had ever conceded. One may be still unforgiving and is adamant to want to extract more, but it would be good to remind oneself that one was also around in the 20 years Mahathir was the prime minister, what had one extracted from the man himself. Nothing, nought!

If one still feels more can be done and wants the PM and his government to go along that line, then it is for one to monitor, prompt, direct, advise and guide them.

Let us give credit where credit is due!

Anonymous said...

The 6 Judegs waited for some 20 years and 2 died with DIGNITY.

I am sorry to say, to the other 4 you have sold out your principles.

If you all have been waiting for 20, might as well, wait til the end of your lives.

History will remember al of you as men of dignity and not some paltry some of ex-gratia payment and no apology.

Pak Lah and Najib have insulted your dignity.

Return the money it is not worth it.

The wife of Justice Wan Sulaiman was more dignified and I wish she could have spoken more and be reported.

Anonymous said...

With all the promises made, let's see if the PM will walk the talk. Not just talk and talk.

Oldstock said...

Salam Tok,

Just to touch on the point raised by Anon 6:05pm, of all the MSM, only The Star reported the comments of people related to the judges, namely Puan Sri Nurhayati (wife of the late Wan Suleiman), Brenda Lim (the late Eusoffe's granddaughter) and Basil Seah (George Seah's son).

But the statement I agree with most is from Wan Noor Azli (son of Wan Suleiman), quoted in Malaysiakini, which I reproduce below :

"Even if we accept (the payment), we accept it with a heavy heart. People still don’t really know why these judges were sacked? Why they were found guilty? Why they acted in such a way?"

"People need to know what actually happened. This is a matter of principle," he stressed. "We (the families) are not really disappointed (with the gesture) but we are disappointed that the case is not re-opened (although) the government said it wanted to reform the judiciary, and the 1988 crisis is the mother of all judiciary crisis."

In fact, Malaysiakini carried a more significant quote by Seah's son which was not reported by The Star :

"Just a simple apology will do. Between compensation and apology, I think my father would want an apology, my father is not the type to go for compensation," he told reporters.

"It is like to have an accident, you hit someone, you would have to apologise first, not pay someone to keep him quiet," he added.

Anonymous said...

I am in total agreement with Seah's son.

While the Goverment's decision to offer ex-gratia to the top judges embroiled in the 1988 judicial crisis and their families has been lauded. an apology would be more valuable.

IZWAN said...

Power to the people!!!!!

Anonymous said...

PL could have done this years ago with all the the rest of unfulfilled PRU11 manifesto. Wha a Wayang Kulit by SIL & gang & bunch of hypocrites BAR Councils to divert people & salvage his waterface. What a sick Joke!