Pak Lah: New chapter for judiciary

Credit has to be given where credit is due. The dinner party that was held last night was indeed a step towards the right direction. At least now we know that Abdullah Ahmad Badawi can still do the right things.

There has been a lot of hoo-hah over the judiciay state in Malaysia these days, especially after Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said not too long ago, that the present government owes Tun Salleh Abbas, and a number of other judges, and apology for a wrongdoing back in 1988.

I was not savvy on issues during 1988, I was only 2 years of age. But that doesn’t make me less concerned over what has happened after that fateful incident. Judiciary state in Malaysia, so it would seem, has since plunged nose first into the mud.

Now, it seems, with the highlighting of this issue by Zaid, there may be a light for the Judiciary system of Malaysia in the future. There will be a need for major changes, and will take a lot of effort on all parties involved, but a step forward is always a good way to start. And, as they say, “late is better than never”.

Government Proposes To Set Up Judicial Appointment Commission

KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 (Bernama) — The government is proposing the establishment of a Judicial Appointment Commission to identify and recommend candidates for the judiciary to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced Thursday night.

“The process to bring about this change will begin now and I assure all of you here, that consultation on the workings and the structure of the Commission will involve primary stakeholders.

“All will have a chance to provide their input to the government,” he said in his keynote address entitled “Delivering Justice, Renewing Trust” at the Malaysian Bar Council Dinner, here.

Abdullah said to compensate these judges, the government had decided to make goodwill ex-gratia payment to them.

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

Full article here.

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I Waited 20 Years And My Prayers Were Answered, Says Tun Salleh Abbas

KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 (Bernama) — “I praise Allah for being merciful and kind to me… I’ve waited 20 years and my prayers have been answered.”

This was the immediate reaction of former lord president Tun Salleh Abas after the government decided to give ex-gratia payment to those who were sacked during the judiciary crisis in 1988.

Salleh said: “I know that I could not win legally before the previous government but my prayers were answered today (Thursday), as I was given the moral victory.

“So tonight, everybody can say the moral victory is now being given to me,” he told reporters at the end of the Malaysian Bar Council dinner Thursday night.

Full article here.

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Justice was served

KUALA LUMPUR: 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.

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.”

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.

Full article here.

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PM announces commission, reforms for judiciary

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government plans to set up a Judicial Appointments Commission that would make the process of nominating, appointing and promoting judges more transparent and representative.

This Commission will identify and recommend candidates, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced at the Bar Council dinner at a hotel here Thursday night.

“This Government gives its commitment to the Malaysian public that it will begin a process of judicial reform. We recognise that this process must be undertaken with the spirit and belief that no one, not even those entrusted to govern or to make laws, must assume to be above the law,” he said.

“Rightly or wrongly, many disputed both the legality and morality of the related proceedings [Tun Salleh Abbas case],” Abdullah said. “For me, personally, I feel it was a time of crisis from which the nation never fully recovered,” he said, but added that it was time to move on.

“I do not think it wise or helpful to revisit past decisions as it would only serve to prolong the sense of crisis – something our nation can do without. The rakyat wants movement and progress, not continuing strife,” he said.

Earlier at the dinner, de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said he hoped never again to see judges punished for doing their jobs, while the Bar Council commended the Prime Minister for creating a more democratic space in Malaysia.

Full article here.

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Let’s be fair. What Abdullah did during the dinner, by announcing these actions, is a step towards the better. Whether or not these get implemented remains to be seen. And judging from previous track records, there are many sceptics. But, let’s not jump the gun. We all hope that the judiciary state in Malaysia can be improved, and raised back to its original integrity. And since this is now being introduced, we should welcome this.

Read Abdullah’s full speech during the dinner here.

Perhaps he’s finally opening his eyes.

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Plenty of blogs out there with more news and feedback on this issue.

Kak Nuraina: here and here
Rocky’s Bru here.

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