Posted by SM Maulana
(Bernama) — “If you destroy the judiciary, you destroy democracy and if you destroy democracy, you are assured of dictatorship” — this is the strong message by former Lord President Tun Salleh Abas in relating his sacking from the judiciary in 1988.
Tun Salleh, 79, expressed the hope that the 1988 judicial crisis would serve as a reminder to the present and future generations on the need to have a strong and independent judiciary.
“I also hoped the 1988 judicial crisis will come to an end and remain forever in the Malaysian legal history,” he said after receiving an ex-gratia payment from Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim at his residence here Friday.
With Friday’s payment, the government had presented the goodwill ex-gratia payments to all six judges who were either sacked or suspended from duties during the crisis.
Apart from Tun Salleh, those sacked were Supreme Court Judges Datuk Seri George Seah and Tan Sri Wan Hamzah Mohamed Salleh.
The three who were suspended for three months were Supreme Court Judges Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader and Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawanteh.
Tun Salleh also expressed his gratitude to the current leadership for the gesture extended to the six former judges.
“I would like to express my thanks to the new government and Zaid who tried to bring an end to the shameful episode. I know that it is very difficult for the government to give a complete apology in the present political senario,” he said.
Tun Salleh said the ex-gratia payment and the acknowledgement of what the judges’ had gone through during the crisis, was a form of compromise on the part of the government.
At the same time it was also an important step towards the restoration of the judiciary to its golden era, he said.
“There is no need to elaborate but I think it is within the public’s perception and knowledge,” he said.
He also hoped that the incident would never recur in the future.
Meanwhile Zaid, the de facto Law Minister, said there was no need to reveal the ex-gratia amount as it was paid to honour Tun Salleh’s services in the judiciary.
“He is the epitome of judges with principles, dignity and bravery in defending the principles. He is the symbol to be proud of,” said Zaid.