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  Speech by Lim Kit Siang at the DAP Teluk Intan Public Ceramah/Consultation with DAP MPs, State Excos and State Assembly members at Teluk Intan Municipal Hall on Friday, 18th April 2008 at 9 pm :

Will the Prime Minister extend goodwill ex gratia payments to the other victims of the two decades of judicial darkness like Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Guan Eng and Syed Ahmad Idid as well as to the 106 ISA detainees in the 1987 Operation Lalang?

When the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced on Thursday night the payment of unspecified "goodwill ex gratia payments" to the six wronged judges in the 1988 judicial crisis, Tun Salleh Abas, Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, Tan Sri Wan Hamzah Mohamed Salleh, Datuk George Seah and the late Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader and Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawanteh, he skirted the "rights and wrongs" and the "legality and morality" of the Mother of Judicial Crisis which plunged the country into two decades of judicial darkness.

The victims of the 1988 Mother of Judicial Crisis and the ensuing two decades of judicial darkness, with three of the four chief justices during the period, Tun Hamid Omar, Tun Eusoffe Chin and Tun Ahmad Fairuz compounding the travesties of justice by the judicial system, were not just the six wronged judges in 1988 but also included innocent, high-minded, idealistic and patriotic Malaysians who want the best for the country. In fact, whole generations of Malaysians were victims of the 20 years of judicial darkness!

Will the Prime Minister extend goodwill ex gratia payments to the other victims of the two decades of judicial darkness like former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and former High Court judge Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid Syed Abdullah Idid (the first whistleblower from the judiciary with his 112 allegations of corruption, abuses of power and misconduct against 12 judges in 1996) as well as to the 106 Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees in the 1987 Operation Lalang?

The goodwill ex gratia payment to the six wronged judges are welcome though belated but they are grossly inadequate in clearing the name and reputation of the six and in providing a full and proper closure to the 1988 Mother of Judicial Crisis and the ensuing two decades of judicial darkness under three Chief Justices.

The statement today by Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak that the ex gratia payment for the six former judges in the 1988 judicial crisis is not a form of apology to them but merely "our way of addressing some of the personal considerations and some of the personal experiences, hardships that they have gone through" has raised questions about the real worth and meaning of the ex gratia payment.

The payment of goodwill ex gratia payment without revisiting the 1988 Judicial Crisis on its rights and wrongs is already unsatisfactory enough but it becomes quite unacceptable when its whole basis is stemmed from pity or compassionate grounds to address "some personal experiences and hardships" suffered by the six wronged judges!

Najib is in fact directly contradicting Abdullah's statement that "the contributions, pain and loss" of the six wronged judges cannot be equated with mere currency by implying that these wrongs and injustices could be dealt with solely in monetary terms.

This is why I maintain what is imperative to start a new chapter in Malaysian judiciary to turn our back on the 20 years of judicial darkness is to have a Judicial "Truth and Reconciliation" Commission to find out the lessons to be learnt from the 1988 Mother of Judicial Crisis and the series of one judicial scandal and crisis after another which rocked Malaysia in the past 20 years, not out of vindictiveness or vengeance, but to prevent any such recurrence in the future focusing also on why the various national stakeholders, the judiciary, Parliament, political parties, mass media, civil society failed the critical test to defend the cardinal Constitutional principles of the doctrine of separation of powers and an independent, impartial and competent judiciary for two decades.


* Lim Kit Siang, MP for Ipoh Timor & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

 
 

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