Thursday, June 26, 2008

1988: The Changes of Justicia (Last Part)

Suspension and Removal of Tun Salleh Abas and Other Judges

In 1988, Tun Salleh Abas was brought before a tribunal covened by the then PM Tun Dr.Mahathir on the grounds of misconduct. The tribunal was chaired by Tun Hamid Omar. Tun Salleh Abas filed a suit in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur to challenge the constitutionality of the tribunal. Tun Salleh Abas applied for an interim stay against the tribunal until July 4,1988. The request was denied.

Five judges of the Supreme Court convened and granted Tun Salleh Abas an interlocutory order against the tribunal. Upon receiving the order, Tun Salleh Abas' solicitors proceed to the Parliament to present the chairman of the tribunal the interlocutory order. The gate leading to the Parliament however was locked and Tun Salleh Abas' representatives had to call in the police to be guaranteed a passage into the Parliament. Eventually, the order was presented to the tribunal chairman.

Soon after, the five judges were suspended. The judges were Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader, Tan Srri wan Hamzah Mohamed Salleh, Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawanteh and Dato' George Seah. This effectively suspended the Supreme Court. The challenge toward legality of tribunal could not be heard. The tribunal later removed Tun Salleh Abas from his office. Tan Sri Wan Suleiman and Dato' George Seah were also removed from office. The other three judges were later reinstated.

The irregular dismissal of Tun Salleh Abas led the Bar Council of Malaysia refusing to recognize the new Lord President. The Federal Constitution was amended to divest, the courts of the 'judicial power of the Federation', granting them instead such judicial powers as Parliament might grant them.

Those article above about the Tun Salleh Abas case, I summarized them from the Introduction to Governance & Politics book. The author was my lecturer who is Mdm.Maizatul Azila Chee Din.
What can i conclude about that issue firstly, no independent judiciary. The judges have no discretion and not based on their completely wisdom to make any judgment. They were influenced by any other parties that have strong powers. In addition, what we can observed is no clearly separation of powers between executive and judiciary. As we know that, we, Malaysian are following the basic principle of law that the executive branches are separated with the judiciary and only executive and legislative are fused together. So that, the principle was totally gone according to this issue which the executive is 'free' to interrupt the judiciary system. There was no valid reason why Tun Dr.Mahathir fired Tun Salleh Abas upon that time. Sadly, it gave bad impact to our judiciary system which other foreign countries might not ever to trust the system. How can the PM of the country condemned his own judiciary system in front of the other foreign countries???

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