Saturday, April 26, 2008

DAP upset over ‘kill Karpal’ call

Saturday April 26, 2008. The Star.

JOHOR BARU: The state DAP is upset over a comment left on a PAS website that called for the murder of DAP national chairman Karpal Singh and is calling for an apology.
Johor DAP vice-chairman Norman Fernandez said that it was unacceptable for the message to be posted on the Johor Baru PAS website especially when Pakatan Rakyat was trying to introduce a new era in politics.
“We want them to take the comment out, apologise to Karpal and ensure that no inciting messages will be put on their website henceforth,” he said.
The comment dated April 24 was listed on the website Shoutbox and was written by a commenter called “Alif” who alleged that Karpal had insulted Islam and that “darahnya halal dibunuh” (it's justifiable to kill him).
He added that for Pakatan Rakyat to succeed, mutual respect was needed and it was the responsibility of the webmaster to ensure that such comments did not appear on the party website.
Meanwhile, Johor PAS Commissioner Datuk Dr Mahfodz Mohamad said the comment posted was not the stand of the Johor PAS.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Overeating – gorged themselves and ate too much of the people's money.
Heart failure – did not have a heart to really care about the rakyat.
Rectal cancer and constipation – did not expel all the shit from the system.
Diabetes – fondness for sweet things, i.e. saying sweet things to try and con the rakyat ( in plain English, lying)
Stroke – stroked too much of their own ego and became too arrogant.
Overworking – too busy running here and there cutting deals for own benefit.
Alzheimer's – forgot to play the proper role of an elected representative.
Obsessive-compulsive neurosis – obsession with cleaning, especially sweeping things under the carpet.
HP6 – a mutation of the deadly H5N1 ( bird flu) virus which manifests itself in the form of idiocy or semi-idiocy, thus the descriptor ' half past six ( HP6)'. Many members of the BN are infected. VD – Very Deaf. Did not listen to the grievances of the rakyat and did not heed the healthy advice and feedback from bloggers.
Color Bind – a form of visual impairment which is directly the opposite of being color blind. There is a fixation on color and everything must always be discussed in terms of 'color' – Malay, Chinese, Indian etc.
Liver problems – failure to de-Liver on promises.
'Inverted Cerebranus' – a new form of disease where the cerebrum and anus are transposed causing highly irrational and objectionable behaviour, like brandishing ancient weapons and ranting racial slurs and threats.
Prognosis Not good and definitely a terminal case. Chances of recovery are 1 in a gadzillion, about the same odds as Osama converting to the Jewish faith and becoming a messenger of world peace.
Cure No known cure. Euthanasia recommended. Suggest to drink lacquer – at least it will ensure a beautiful finish.
-By Political doctor

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dr.Mahathir on BBC's Hard Talk

Stephen Sackur Introduction:
Last month marked a watershed in the politics of Malaysia. The ruling national front recorded its worst election results in five decades. It’s still in power but seriously weakened. My guest today personifies the power of the ruling party for 22 years. He was Malaysia’s PM and one of the most outspoken leaders in the Muslim world. His critics called him a racist and a dictator. Has retirement mellowed Mahathir Mohamed?

Stephen Sackur: Dr Mohamad welcome to Hardtalk. Let’s start with that election result last month, has it marked the beginning of the end for Malaysia’s ruling party?

Mahathir Mohamad: Not necessarily, unless no action is taken, of course it may result in that. But if proper action is taken, including of course the present Prime Minister leaving his seat of power, it may be possible to bring back the Barisan Nasional Front in order to become again a very strong ruling party.

Stephen Sackur: You’re saying that PM Abdullah Badawi has to be kicked out for the ruling party to recover?

Mahathir Mohamad: Well not so strong as that. He can step down. I stepped down in my time. It’s about time that he steps down because the result of the election shows clearly that many of the former followers, supporters of the Nasional Front had decided that they would work, vote for the Opposition even if they didn’t like the Opposition. They voted for the Opposition to send a message to the present government.

Stephen Sackur: Prime Minister Abdullah says that you have been one of the curses that have brought him down, because you’ve been sniping from the sidelines for the last two or three years.

Mahathir Mohamad: That may be so. I don’t see why I should not criticise wrongdoings by him.

Stephen Sackur: What wrongdoings?

Mahathir Mohamad: Well in the first place, the government promises to remove corruption and things like that, but the government is found to be corrupt.

Stephen Sackur: You are tearing your own party apart though, that is the problem. And that is what many people inside your party believe.

Mahathir Mohamad: Well sometimes it may be necessary. I told people that I’m a doctor. If I find one leg becoming gangrenous I remove it.

Stephen Sackur: Now he has said Prime Minister Abdullah, that he will go eventually, but is your message to him that he has no time, he must go now?

Mahathir Mohamad: He must go now, because he will take time to revive the party for the next election.

Stephen Sackur: Isn’t the truth of what we see in Malaysia today that the real discontent isn’t so much with Prime Minister Abdullah, it is with the system and the ideology that you bequeathed to your country?

Mahathir Mohamad: Well the system and the ideology have been there for the last 50 years. It’s worked very well we had always won elections, people always supported us and the country has done very well during that 50 years with that system.

Stephen Sackur : But the indications are and the opposition succeeded by saying to the public, we no longer want this racially defined system inside Malaysia. And it was the racial defined system that was the platform upon which you succeeded in running Malaysia for 22 years.

Mahathir Mohamad: I think that’s wishful thinking on the part of foreign critics. But the fact is that this election result was due to disaffection on the part of the ruling party’s supporters, with the present leadership.

Stephen Sackur : Well let me just quote you the words of the new head of Penang State and let’s not forget that these results saw five very big and wealthy states go to the Opposition. The new head of Penang State Mr Lim Guan Eng, he says ‘we want a new state administration that is free from corruption and cronyism, we are here to build a Penang State for all.’ You didn’t build a Malaysia for all did you?

Mahathir Mohamad: I did. If you look at Malaysia today. Everybody is enjoying, has enjoyed, a very good life. They have become very prosperous. Malaysia was one of the fastest growing countries in the world. If you look at the different races, you can find that they all benefited from that government. So it is of course, necessary for Opposition parties to make remarks like that.

Stephen Sackur : But they are not making it up are they? Let’s look at your new economic policy which you pursued for so long. It favours ethnic Malays, in so many different ways, from public sector appointments to university places, to advantageous acquisition of stocks, discounts on housing, I don’t know where to stop. There are so many different ways in which you ran an unequal system.

Mahathir Mohamad: No this was a policy which was initiated by my predecessors, it was necessary to...

Stephen Sackur : But you ran it for 22 years, you had ample opportunity to change it.

Mahathir Mohamad: Yes I had ample opportunity to implement in a way that will correct imbalances that existed in Malaysia since the British days. And unless these imbalances are corrected there’s bound to be another race riot, as happened in 1969.

Stephen Sackur : But the point is that 80 thousand Indians for example, were on the streets protesting long and loud last November, because they are no longer prepared to live with the racial division that you set in the stone.

Mahathir Mohamad: Why now? Why not during my time? They were quite free to demonstrate. Many of the people who disagreed with me demonstrated...

Stephen Sackur : But many of the people who disagreed with you, I’m afraid ended up in prison.

Mahathir Mohamad: Who?

Stephen Sackur : Hundreds of them, read every Amnesty international and human rights watch report for the years in which you were in power..

Mahathir Mohamad: The western press, the problem is that you make up these stories and then you take this as the truth, it’s not the truth. Tell me who are the hundreds of people who ended up in prison.

Stephen Sackur: I’ll discuss human rights a little bit later. I just want before we get distracted from this question of racism in Malaysia, I just want to put to you this final point: Anwar Ibrahim says that he is going to push and of course he your long time friend who became, your political enemy, he is going to push for a colour blind Malaysia where affirmative action is open to all who need help.

Mahathir Mohamad: Well this opportunism for him, now that he is out of the government, he was in the government for a long time, he never made any complaints, he never did anything to.

Stephen Sackur : He certainly made a complaint when you locked him up.

Mahathir Mohamad: Well that was not the reason why he was locked up, he was accused of sodomy, he was accused of abuse of power, he was tried in court, nine months and he was defended by nine lawyers and he was found guilty...

Stephen Sackur : Trumped up charges.. trumped up charges.. says not just Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International but I’ve been looking through the record, the Canadian government, the White House, the International Commission of Jurists, all of them expressed grave and deep concern with the way in which your judicial system treated Anwar Ibrahim.

Mahathir Mohamad: Yes you’re free to say so but...

Stephen Sackur : I’m not saying it, I’m just quoting to you all the people who did say it.

Mahathir Mohamad: But what is the record of these countries? These people, these same countries arrested people without the law, and detained them in Guantanamo Bay and even in Britain here, you arrest people and detain them without any sanction by law.

Stephen Sackur : So does that make it okay that you did it for 22 years?

Mahathir Mohamad: We did it under the laws of the country, but it is not the way...

Stephen Sackur : You used the laws which went back to colonial times, the internal security act, emergency procedures, you feel satisfied to tell me that that was entirely legitimate?

Mahathir Mohamad: No we find that the situation in the country is very very fluid and it is very likely that there will be racial riots, unless we prevent precise people who are promoting racial hatred from talking about it.

Stephen Sackur : Put it this way, Dr Mahathir, you’ve had several years out of power now to consider your record and what you did, I wonder whether you are now ready to say that you regret what you did to Anwar Ibrahim?

Mahathir Mohamad: Why should I regret? He was arrested under the laws of the country, he was tried in the courts of the country and he was sentenced by the court. If he was not wrong, I don’t think, no matter what you think about our judiciary, I don’t think he would have been sentenced to prison.

Stephen Sackur : It damaged your reputation though didn’t it?

Mahathir Mohamad: Well that’s something I have to accept.

Stephen Sackur : You may also find it comes back to haunt you? Anwar Ibrahim is now leading the opposition coalition. We are led to believe that there are certain MPs in the ruling party who may defect to him, in which case he could very soon be running the government. And he’s made it plain that he wants to have you answer for all of the things you do while you were in power.

Mahathir Mohamad: Well he’s welcome to do that if he becomes the Prime Minister of Malaysia, but if he wins over members of the ruling party to his side, it is the prime minister, the present leader who should be blamed, because he couldn’t even get the loyalty of his own members.

Stephen Sackur : It wasn’t the current prime minister who was in power when Anwar Ibrahim was savagely beaten during his time in detention?

Mahathir Mohamad: Savagely beaten? I know he was slapped and he had a black eye which was very useful for election purpose...

Stephen Sackur : Why you think he hit himself maybe?

Mahathir Mohamad: Well I don’t know what happened..but the police the IGP admitted that he assaulted Anwar, but that wasn’t me that was the IGP.

Stephen Sackur : But how do you respond, if Anwar comes to power and he as he said on this programme and elsewhere, that he wants a full and thorough public inquiry into all of your, Dr Mahathir’s misdeeds, how will you respond to that?

Mahathir Mohamad: He is welcome to do so, but I hope that he finds people who are neutral, who are impartial, probably foreigners, because I don’t trust the people that they put after people they don’t like.

Stephen Sackur : Interesting that you say you don’t trust people who are currently or maybe in charge of any inquiry, do you trust the integrity of the Malaysian judiciary?

Mahathir Mohamad: I do, at times I do but...

Stephen Sackur : is that because you appointed the judges?

Mahathir Mohamad: I didn’t appoint the judges, the judges were recommended by the Chief Justice and my duty is to check whether he has any records or not and after that he is presented to the king who will then appoint the judge...

Stephen Sackur : Dr Mahathir, you know as well as I do, that the hottest political topic in Malaysia today, is the state of the judiciary, the integrity of the judiciary and that a video has been playing in Malaysia for a long time now which shows a top lawyer talking to a top judge going back to 2001, in which the lawyer says to the judge ‘believe me in the end all of the positions going all the way to the supreme court are fixed by the politicians’, i.e. by you who were the prime minister at the time Dr Mahathir?

Mahathir Mohamad: Did he say that? Did he mention my name?

Stephen Sackur : He didn’t mention your name he said this will be fixed, this goes through the political system. You ran the political system.

Mahathir Mohamad: I’m not so sure about that. But the fact is that this man had his video taken because they intended to blackmail him. He happens to be my lawyer, defending me at this moment for libel against Anwar and this tape came from Anwar. Anwar had these things recorded in order to blackmail the lawyer.

Stephen Sackur : But the point is the current government led by Prime Minister Abdullah who is nominally or despite what you have said on this programme, is of your party. Prime Minister Abdullah has now essentially apologised, he said both to the supreme court justice that you removed and to other judges that were suspended or removed during your time in power, he’s said sorry to them. He’s said that he wants to offer them monetary compensation

Mahathir Mohamad: Fine but it’s a political move. Something a man who is very unpopular at the moment, wanting to show that he’s going to do something right.

Stephen Sackur: And that Dr Mahathir is my point. The Malaysian people no longer want to live with the system you created. That’s why Prime Minister Abdullah is essentially dismantling the system that you created.

Mahathir Mohamad: No no no he’s not dismantling the system, he is making use of the system in a worse way. Nobody can say anything against him, he has newspapers which only reports about him and how great he is. And he was mislead by his own supporters, into believing that if he holds the election now, this is one and half years before the end of the term, he would win, he would have a clean sweep. If you look at the records, he made statements that he would win the election, with zero for the Opposition.

Stephen Sackur: The more I listen to you talking about Prime Minister Abdullah, the more I wonder why did you choose him to be your successor?

Mahathir Mohamad: Well these people are very smart in hiding their true character. He was known as Mr Clean and I thought I would appoint a clean person to succeed me. Although he was not the one with the highest votes in my party. But I thought that he was older and I appointed him thinking that he’s not going to do anything very wrong. But this man gives priority to his family rather than to the country.

Stephen Sackur: So it was a fundamental lack of judgement on your part?

Mahathir Mohamad: Yes I’ll admit that. But we all make mistakes. The British people voted in people like Blair, who told lies, so did the Americans. Lots of people make mistakes.

Stephen Sackur: We all make mistakes you say, was it also a mistake for you to define
yourself so clearly, as anti-western and anti-democratic, in the sense that the West understands democracy?

Mahathir Mohamad: No that’s the problem, I am not anti-Western, I am against the bad things that were done by the Western countries.

Stephen Sackur: You’re not anti-western and yet in June 2003 before you left office, you said anglo-Saxon Europeans are essentially proponents and I’m quoting here: ‘proponents of war, sodomy and genocide.’

Mahathir Mohamad: Which is true, you must admit.

Stephen Sackur: But you’re not anti-western?

Mahathir Mohamad: I’m stating the fact. This is their character and I will continue to say so.

Stephen Sackur: So when you come here, you sit in the Hardtalk studio, in the heart of London, you regard yourself do you, as in one of the Headquarters of war, sodomy and genocide?

Mahathir Mohamad: Well I come here of course expecting to be lambasted by you, because that is the way you work.

Stephen Sackur: Well I’m not lambasting you at all. I’m trying to tease out whether you believe it was a mistake for you to use this sort of language. Because you clearly cut yourself off, from any sort of meaningful dialogue with the West when you use these words.

Mahathir Mohamad: Well the Europeans used to call us the lazy Malays, incompetent Malays, untrustworthy Malays, we couldn’t say a thing about you. So when I was in a position to say what we think about you, and I did and you don’t like it. When you said it to us you expect us to like it. We didn’t like it, but we had no way of making our voices heard.

Stephen Sackur: I am just wondering how you feel about democracy. Of course in the world since 9/11, the United States and the coalition of partners led by the United Kingdom, have talked a lot about spreading democracy, do you believe in democracy?

Mahathir Mohamad: If you look at the history of the west, they come up with all kinds of ideologies, they use it for sometime and then they found it defective and they dropped it and start on another. One day they are going to forget about democracy because in some countries democracy actually ended up with anarchy. And there were practically no governments. It’s not a system that can feed everybody. You must have a certain understanding of the limitations of democracy, in order to make it work.

Stephen Sackur: Is that why you were not a democrat, why you in the end did behave like a dictator?

Mahathir Mohamad: Well that is something that the West would like to say about me, I am a dictator.

Stephen Sackur: Well I’m just quoting your own words from 2002. You said it’s good governance people need, you said, feudal kings even dictators have provided and can provide good governments.

Mahathir Mohamad: Well that’s very true, that is very true. The great civilisations of the past did not have democracies. And yet they became great. It’s not necessary that the system will work for everybody. But if we have a bad leader, even the democratic system will fail.
We must remember that it is a democratic country which dropped atomic bombs, killing 200 thousand people.

Stephen Sackur: How do you think the Malaysian public will respond to you saying, look you know what democracy isn’t the best system and in fact dictatorship can often work better.

Mahathir Mohamad: I went through five elections and I won all the elections with a majority...

Stephen Sackur: Without a free press, locking up many of your opponents

Mahathir Mohamad: There you go again about locking up many of my opponents, who are they?

Stephen Sackur: I don’t know how many times I have to tell you, that I’ve studied the human rights watch reports, the Amnesty International reports, studies from the state department, from the Canadian government.

Mahathir Mohamad: These are biased reports, the first thing I did on becoming the prime minister in 1981, was to release political prisoners who were detained by my predecessors, 22 or them, including many members of the Opposition.

Stephen Sackur: Under the 1984 Press law which required newspapers to get a new licence every single year. It made it very easy for you to quieten them down, didn’t it?

Mahathir Mohamad: No it has always been there, the press law has been there...I didn’t do that...but the fact is that we have a multi-racial country and if we are not careful, there will be racial flare-ups. And you look at most of the countries with multi-racial population, they are never peaceful, even Northern Ireland, it took you such a long to stop the war in Northern Ireland.

Stephen Sackur: Talking of peace, you did worry about the stability of your country, didn’t you? That’s why you were very strong, very tough with Islamist extremism inside Malaysia.

Mahathir Mohamad: Yes it is necessary.

Stephen Sackur: Well I just wonder in that case then why just before you left office, in October 2003, why did you tell the Islamic Summit Conference that and I’m quoting again a very famous speech, it’s a little bit long but “1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews,” you said. “We’re actually very strong. The Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million but today Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.” You went on to say: “But the Jews have become arrogant. And arrogant people like angry people will make mistakes and there may be a window of opportunity for us.”

Mahathir Mohamad: I’m stating facts, I am willing to say that again and again that this is what has happened.

Stephen Sackur: Anti-Semitic and racist that was called by many governments and people around the world.

Mahathir Mohamad: Anti-Semitism is created by the Jews themselves. We cannot say anything. In fact journalists have been arrested for saying something against the holocaust and jailed for three years. Where is the freedom of press?
Stephen Sackur: So those words I quoted in your view, are not anti-Semitic?

Mahathir Mohamad: No they are not anti-Semitic? I am just quoting facts. The fact is that the United States obeys what Israel wants it to do.

Stephen Sackur: You call them facts, let’s leave that aside for the moment. I am trying to understand your logic. Here you are a man who says that your own country is potentially destabilised by Islamic extremism and then you go out in an Islamic Conference and you use words which could have been used by Osama bin Laden.

Mahathir Mohamad: There’s no contradiction, no contradiction at all. I don’t want Islamic terrorism any more than I want Jewish attacks against Israel, or American bombs on Baghdad. It is not incompatible.

Stephen Sackur: Do you feel confident that people still listen to your message?

Mahathir Mohamad: I wouldn’t be able to say. Why should people worry about me?

Stephen Sackur: In Malaysia people say, and I’m talking about the Prime Minister, the leader of the Opposition: it’s time for you to be quiet.

Mahathir Mohamad: Why should I be quiet? You mean to say when they are doing something wrong, to my country and I should not say anything? I would be irresponsible if I were to do that.

Stephen Sackur: Dr Mahathir Mohamad thank you very much for being on Hardtalk.

Mahathir Mohamad: You’re welcome.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

1988 crisis : Salleh Shot Himself On The Foot? - By P Suppiah

The personalities involved in the entire episode are as follows:

The then Yang Di Pertuan Agong (the King), now the Sultan of Johor
Tun Salleh Abas, who was then the Lord President
The prime minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was then Datuk Seri Dr),
The then attorney-general, Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, now Suhakam chief.
The whole episode started with Salleh writing a letter to the King dated March 26, 1988, copies of which were sent to the Malay rulers. On May 27, 1988 the prime minister in the presence of high-ranking government officials informed Salleh that the King wished him to step down (to retire as Lord President) because of the said letter.
Salleh on May 28, 1988 sent a letter of resignation: the next day he withdrew it and subsequently held a press conference. On June 9, 1988 the prime minister made a second representation to the King alleging further misconduct on the part of Salleh based on his undignified use of the press to vent his grievances – such as requesting for a public hearing of the tribunal and asking for persons of high judicial standing to sit on the tribunal.
On June 11, 1988, members of the tribunal were appointed pursuant to the Federal Constitution by the King. On June 14, 1988, Salleh was served with the list of charges against him. On June 17, 1988, Salleh was served with a set of rules to govern the tribunal procedure. On June 21, 1988, on the application of Salleh, a Queen’s Counsel was admitted for the purpose of defending him without any objection from the attorney-general.
Salleh was informed of the tribunal’s hearing on June 29, 1988 and was told he could be represented by his Queen’s Counsel. On June 29, 1988, counsel for Salleh appeared and informed the tribunal that Salleh would not participate in the proceedings. Salleh was making a series of press statements including an interview with the BBC showing unhappiness over the tribunal’s legality.
The tribunal held its proceedings in camera. Salleh was accorded the right to be defended by counsel. His counsel decided not to cross-examine any of the witnesses. The tribunal was made up of the following six persons:
Acting Lord President, Abdul Hamid Omar (tribunal chairman), who was appointed a High Court judge in September 1968. In 1980, he was appointed a Federal Court judge. On Feb 3, 1984, he was made the Chief Justice of Malaya taking over from Salleh.
TS Sinnathuray, a Singapore Supreme Court judge (tribunal member).
Abdul Aziz Mohamed Zain, a former Federal Court judge (tribunal member).
Mohamed Zahir Ismail, former High Court judge from 1975 to 1982 before assuming his post as a Dewan Rakyat speaker (tribunal member).
Sri Lankan Chief Justice, KAP Ranasinghe (tribunal member).
Chief Justice of Borneo, Lee Hun Hoe (tribunal member).
The allegations against Salleh were made known to him in writing (in respect of which the tribunal held its inquiry), and briefly they are:
First allegation: On the occasion of the conferment of the honarary degree of doctor of letters on him by Universiti Malaya on Aug 1, 1987 in his speech he made several statements criticising the government which displayed prejudice and bias against the government: and these statements were incompatible with his position as the Lord President of the Supreme Court.
Second allegation: At the launching of the book Malaysia Law and Law, Justice and the Judiciary: Transnational Trend on Jan 12, 1988 in his speech he made several statements discrediting the government and thereby sought to undermine public confidence in the government’s administration of this country in accordance with the law.
In the same speech he made special reference to the interpretative role of judges and advocated the acceptance of the Islamic legal system not only in the interpretation of the civil law of Malaysia but in its general application.
In particular he advocated thus: "This system consists mostly of the Quran and Hadith (tradition of Prophet Mohammad S.A.W.). The interpretation of these two sources of law is done according to the established and accepted methodology. Volumes of literature have been written as commentaries and exegesis of the Quaranic law the Prophet Mohammad’s Hadith or tradition. In this situation, not only is the judiciary bound by Islamic law as propounded by jurisconsult (muftis, who give legal rulings on particular matters), but as Parliament and the executive too are certainly bound by these rulings."
His attempt to restate the law generally along Islamic legal principles ignores the character of Malaysian society as one which is multi-religious and multi-racial with deep cultural differences. No responsible government can allow the postulation of such views by the head of the judiciary without causing fear and consternation among its non-Muslim population. Furthermore, his statement violates established principles of judicial interpretation widely accepted in the courts in Malaysia and in the Commonwealth.
Third allegation: He adjourned sine die the case of Teoh Eng Huat v Kadhi Pasir Mas, Kelantan and Another (Civil Appeal No 220 of 1986) which involved the issue of a minor’s choice of religion. It was adjourned six times in the Supreme Court – Aug 18, 1986, Aug 25, 1986, Dec 1, 1986, July 30, 1987, July 31, 1987 and Aug 3, 1987. It related to the conversion from Buddhism to the Islamic faith.
Fourth allegation: In his said letter dated March 26, 1988 to the King and the Malay rulers, he stated that it was written on behalf of the judges of this country. This is false as there was no prior consultation with nor approval of all the judges of the country on the content of the letter before he sent it.
Fifth allegation: He, after his suspension as Lord President, made various statements to the media for publication and broadcasting which contained untruths and which were calculated to politicise the issue between the government and himself and to further discredit the government.
The tribunal commenced its hearing on June 29, 1988. Salleh was absent. But his counsel, namely Raja Aziz Addruse, CV Das and Royan were present. The attorney-general presented his arguments to assist the tribunal and set out the facts. In his submission, the AG stated that there was more than ample evidence and justification to recommend Salleh’s removal from office.
In all four witnesses were called and much written material connected with the allegations was made available to the tribunal for its members to rely on. The four witnesses were Sallehudin Mohamed, Sharon Abdul Majid (director-general of Fisheries), Saedon Daud (deputy director of Budget) and Haidar Mohd Noor (chief registrar) who gave evidence with regard to the adjournments of the conversion case mentioned in the third allegation.
The tribunal completed its report on July 7, 1988. In it, it stated that the tribunal was appointed by the King under Article 125(3) and (4) of the Federal Constitution to investigate and submit a report to the King in regard to the representation made by the prime minister that Salleh be removed from office on the grounds of his misbehaviour which show that he is no longer able to discharge his duties and function as Lord President properly and justly.
The tribunal in its report set out the background facts and its findings and recommendations.
The tribunal under proof and findings inter alia stated that it endeavoured to follow the well-
known principle and applied and followed in such matters and also in regard to the burden of proof and the standard of proof by similar tribunals in other jurisdictions. It dealt with each of the allegations and stated briefly in respect thereof as follows:
Allegations 1 and 2: The tribunal was satisfied on a consideration of the documents containing the speech that had been made by Salleh on the occasion he was conferred the honourary degree of doctor of letters by Universiti Malaya on Aug 1, 1987 and also the speech made by him on Jan 12, 1988 on the occasion of the official launching ceremony of the book Malaysian Law and Law Justice and the Judiciary: Transnational Trends at the Shangri La Hotel Kuala Lumpur that the particulars set out in the said allegations have been established.
Allegation 2 (iv) and 3: In regard to allegation 3 the tribunal was satisfied in the absence of any explanation by Salleh that the adjournment was made upon improper and extraneous consideration when the case related to the conversion of a minor from the religion she professed (Buddhism) to the Islamic faith.
Allegation 2 (iv): The tribunal held:
i) that it was manifestly clear in the absence of an explanation from Salleh who made the speech that he was seeking to advocate in the guise of interpretation, the acceptance of the principles of Islamic law as propounded by the ‘muftis’ and to assert that such rulings bound not only the judiciary but also both the Parliament and the executive of the country
ii) that it must be borne in mind that Islam is the religion of the Federation, the Constitution of Malaysia by Articles 3 and 11 assures and guarantees to all persons complete freedom of religion by vesting in every person "the right to profess and practise his religion" in accordance with the law.
iii) that it must also be borne in mind that Malaysia is a multi-racial and multi-religious country. That being so, the assertion of principles as spelt out in the said speech by Salleh is likely to cause not only uneasiness but also fear and doubt in the minds of those who profess a religion other than Islam and do not subscribe to the tenets and principles advocated by Salleh in his speech.
iv) that it must also be borne in mind that the Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and any law passed after Merdeka Day which is inconsistent with the Constitution shall be void to the extent of such inconsistency. Therefore, it was ill-advised for Salleh as head of the judiciary to make an authoritative statement that "Islamic laws bind not only the judiciary but Parliament and the executive also".
Allegation 4: The tribunal held that for Salleh to say that the letter to the King (copied to all the Malay rulers) was from "all of us" was an untruth and in the absence of any explanation the tribunal held that Salleh had done so in order to ensure that the said letter could carry greater authority and greater conviction than it would have had it been made only by a section of the judges.
Allegation 5: The tribunal was satisfied that in the absence of any explanation from Salleh that he used the media with the view to politicising the issue of his suspension and to gain public sympathy for himself.
The tribunal touched on the meaning of "misbehaviour": to mean unlawful conduct or immoral conduct such as bribery, corruption, acts done with improper motives relating to the office of a judge and which would affect the due administration of justice or which would shake the confidence of the public in a judge.
The tribunal concluded: "Having regard to the views we have already formed upon the material before us, we are of the opinion, in the absence of an explanation being made by or on behalf of Salleh that he has been guilty of not only "misbehaviour", but also of misconduct which falls within the ambit of "other cause", which renders him unfit to discharge properly the functions of his office, as Lord President, as set out in Article 125(3) of the Constitution."
Under recommendation, the tribunal said: "Salleh has been proved to have behaved himself in such a way as would destroy the public confidence in his impartiality, his honesty his integrity and in his ability to make decisions as a judge and unanimously recommended that he be removed from office, both as a judge and as the Lord President of the Supreme Court, which recommendation was accepted by the King."
It further stated: "We very much regret that the respondent chose not to appear before us, even though every reasonable opportunity was afforded to him by us. We have, as has been made clear in this report, come to the findings which we have arrived at only upon the unchallenged and uncontradicted material placed before us. Needless to say that had we had the benefit of a plausible explanation from the respondent in regard to the several issues which were presented to us for our consideration, our decision may well have been different."
Much later in a reply letter dated March 20, 1989 to the International Commission of Jurist, Hamid stated that though Salleh was the Lord President his judicial experience on the Superior Court bench was comparatively short having been appointed (when he was a solicitor-general) direct to the Federal Court (the predecessor of the present Supreme Court) as recently as 1979.
Salleh was never a Judge of the High Court and had no experience whatever of trial court work at that level. On the other hand, he (Hamid) was appointed High Court judge in 1968 (11 years earlier).
What prompted me to write this letter is because the topic of Salleh Abas has cropped up in the papers recently with the de facto law minister holding the view that the government should apologise to Salleh for his being sacked as Lord President.
The present prime minister has also advocated in his speech at the Bar dinner last week (nearly 20 years later) that the government would make "goodwill ex-gratia payment to Tun Salleh". I wonder whether it will be proper to use government’s money for such purpose.
It must be remembered that to this day no one knows what the defence would have been if Salleh had appeared before the tribunal and be subjected to cross-examination. Salleh did not do this as he said he ‘did not recognise’ the tribunal in his interviews. Even if one does not recognise a tribunal, one should appear before it and make the necessary submission and if the submission fails, one should still give evidence (under protest so to speak) setting out the defence.
His version, even if disbelieved by the tribunal, will always be there on the record for everyone to see. In fact the tribunal had stated categorically that if it had the benefit of a plausible explanation from Salleh in regard to the several issues which were presented to it for its consideration its decision may well have been different.
By his refusing to appear and give his version (especially in regard to his advocating the acceptance of the Islamic legal system in the interpretation of the laws as propounded by the ‘muftis’) he in fact had shot himself in the foot. It is no use crying foul when he did not exercise his right to be heard. What would he have done in a similar or other cases presided by him?
To my mind, it is still open to Salleh, for instance among other avenues, to ask for an appointment of another tribunal to review his case (whether there will be any objection to this from any quarters, I do not know) subject however to his agreeing to give evidence as to his defence. The record of the proceedings are still there. Even if this happened he will be running into difficulties because the four witnesses who gave evidence at the tribunal were never cross-examined by his counsel.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Lee Jia Hui (pic), 19 scored 11 1A’s in the SPM examination. The Sunday Star, April 20, reported that he had for the last six months applied for scholarship to pursue his studies oversea from various local agencies such as Public Services Department and Bank Negara. He was unsuccessful.

Interestingly and luckily, he has now obtained offers of scholarships from renowned institution such as Harvard University, Princeton, Darthmoth, Cornell, as well as Wesleyan Asian Freeman Scholarship. Imagine prestigious and renowned foreign institutions are falling over to offer scholarships and yet at home he is unable to obtain a scholarship.

Now that Lee has secured a multitude offers of scholarship, it can also be certain that Lee would be another talent lost by Malaysia. With a degree from a prestigious institution, he would surely receive offers of employment even before he finishes his studies. I just wonder what will be the motivation for him to return home. The lifestyle he would have become accustomed to, the employment opportunities, remuneration and perks may make him not to come back to Malaysia. Frankly, why would he want to.

Singapore government has for a long time offered Asean Scholarship to top students from Asean countries to study in Singapore. Now, Singapore has gone even further. It now offers scholarships even for for Primary and Secondary students. The multitudes of scholarships given are designed to lure top students from the region and particularly from Malaysia to study in Singapore. These students after having being used to the Singapore life- style and work ethics, more often than not would then stay on and work in Singapore. Many raise families and ultimately become Singapore citizens. The very least they become Singapore Permanent Residents while their children becoming Singapore citizens.

Singapore has found ways to entice and retain talent while Malaysia on the other hand seems to be indifferent to the loss of talents. After all the loss and brain drain can be replenished with Bangladeshis, Sudanese or even Myanmaris. Little wonder Singapore who once was on par with Malaysia has transformed into a first world and much of it is because of Malaysian talent who left our shores to help transform Singapore to become what it is today. Malaysia hardly made attempts to plug the brain drain or even ensure that our talents return. We just let them go and in the process lost them.

It is said that virtually all the students from the top class in Foon Yew Chinese school is headhunted by Singapore with offers of education scholarships. While the UEC examination certificate is not recognized for entry into local universities, yet it is recognized by Singapore (and many other countries) and students with good UEC results often receive offers of scholarship from Singapore. Has Petronas, Bank Negara or even Khazanah Nasional even provided a scholarship for a top student from Foon Yew Chinese School ?

The government is now considering sending a second man to space. Imagine the millions which is going to be spent when no one has a clue what benefit we have received from the first mission, apart from having the distinction of being the first Malay and Malaysian to go into space. The government even once was prepared to spend millions just to build a high performance sports centre in England. Luckily the local council rejected the application.

The point is this, the government readily finds money to spend on grandiose projects but find it difficult to provide scholarships for outstanding students. Why can’t the government, government linked agencies and companies find ways to help outstanding students with scholarship. What is even more sad, is that very often Non Malay students find it virtually impossible to obtain scholarship from government or government linked agencies and companies, yet are often receipients of scholarship from overseas universities. Importantly, it is to be noted that these scholarships are often secured on merit. I still remember how a couple of years ago government linked companies were falling over each other to provide scholarship for a British whiz kid whose only link to Malaysia was that her mother was born in Malaysia. Now the whiz kid is a 130 sterling pounds per hour whore.

Malaysia through the decades have lost thousands of outstanding students to other countries and we cannot continue to lose talent and let the brain drain go on. In a globalised world we must retain our outstanding students while at the same time source for outstanding foreign talents. We must make available scholarships for our top students and more importantly every top student irrespective of race must have an opportunity. We rely now on foreign doctors often from third rate countries and who can hardly speak the local language and some hardly look convincing nor confident as a doctor. Could we not have sent abroad on scholarship more Malaysian student of all races to study medicine. I know one Indian family whose child is studying medicine in Bandung, Indonesia. The poor parents are virtually begging from office to office for money to educate their child.

Let us be realistic, if the country treats a top student like a step-child and alienates him from opportunities, would he still be motivated to return and serve the country. This is what has happened and still happens. Many who has gone abroad still has family ties and feelings for the country but government policies and alienation of opportunities makes them not having any desire to return.

Malaysians pay tax, Petronas makes billions, government and government linked agencies and companies make money and government poor millions bailing out government linked companies. Yet, outstanding students and particularly non malay students cannot secure scholarships easily. What the government, government agencies and government linked companies must do is to provide scholarships for outstanding Malaysians and importantly irrespective of race. What has happened to Lee Jia Hui should not have happen and must never happen again.

Norman Fernandez
Vice Chairman
DAP Johor


Last Thursday night, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi addressing the Malaysian Bar Council dinner announced the governments’ decision to make “goodwill ex-gratia payments” to the six former judges and their families for the “pain and loss” as a result of the shameful events of 1988. The Judges are, the late Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader and Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawanteh and their families, Tun Salleh Abbas, Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, Tan Sri Wan Hamzah Mohamed Salleh and Datuk George Seah.

It has taken twenty years for the government to acknowledge the wrong done to the said judges. Imagine, twenty years just to get an acknowledgement ! Many still remember the events of 1988 when Dr Mahathir convened a kangaroo tribunal to try the then Lord President Tun Salleh Abbas on charges of misconduct and for questioning the constitutional amendment designed by the government of Dr Mahathir to erode the powers of the judiciary. In the end Tun Salleh Abbas was sacked. Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader and Tan Sri Wan Hamzah was suspended while Datuk George Seah and Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawanteh were sacked by another tribunal.

While many may laud the governments’ decision, what is most regretted is the refusal of the government to acknowledge its wrong doing and unreservedly apologise to the judges and their families. Instead, the government offers ex-gratia payment, not as a sign of remorse and regret but as a recognition of the contribution by the six outstanding judges. Deputy Prime Minister Dato Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak put the position of the government clearly when he said that the the payment by the government is not tantamount to any form of apology.

If that is so, then the decent thing the judges and their families ought to do is to reject the offer of ex-gratia payment, unless of cause if the judges or their families are in dire straits and do need the money the government is throwing at their feet.

After 20 years, what is needed is for the government to unreseverdly apologise. Simple as that - apology. Prime Minister had an opportunity to put it right but as usual fluffed the opportunity. Thus, so long as the government do not apologise and so long as it is not done, there will be no closure of the ugly chapter of 1988. Dinner and ex-gratia payment is simply not enough. Dignity cannot be bought with money.
Norman Fernandez.