Friday, April 18, 2008

judicial reforms and goodwill ex-Gratia compensation not amounting to apology...

The Issue

In 1988, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had convened a special tribunal to try Salleh on charges of misconduct and for questioning constitutional amendments that seriously eroded the powers of the judiciary. Salleh was subsequently sacked. Supreme court judges Seah and Wan Sulaiman - who had ruled that the tribunal was convened unconstitutionally - were also sacked after being found guilty of misconduct by another tribunal. Three other judges - Azmi, Eusoffe and Wan Hamzah were suspended. Some have described the dismissal of the top judges from the Supreme Court - then the highest court, now renamed the Federal Court - as Malaysia's darkest hours in its judicial history.
It took our government 21 years, after a change in Prime Minister and a political tsunami to admit that our judiciary system is rotten to its core and finally it took a bold Prime Minister to call for judicial reforms and pay compensation to all 6 affected judges minus an apology despite some 'uncalled for' objections from within UMNO quarters.
Nevertheless, it is still the first long overdue step. Firstly, we have the formation of a judicial appointment commission with no further details on its compositions and how the system works. An idea most welcome but whether it will materialise in the future remains dubious ( that's how much faith i have left with our administrators after years of listening to talks that doesn't walk ). I am very sure many rakyat felt the same.
Secondly, we have monetary compensation for all those six judges affected and further revision on judiciary terms and remuneration. It is obvious that no amount of compensation can commensurate the hardships of those judges affect by the 1988 judicial meltdown. Not mentioning unknown amount of cases that was unfairly trial and the country's reputation that was tarnished along with that disgraceful moment.
However, many unanswered questions remain unanswered. More so when we were told not to revisit this past decision as it would serve to prolong the sense of crisis - something our nation can do without. Hah? Is that it? Case closed? This is the type of governance we went through for many years and we should just sit back and accept this form of stupid governance.
Mr Prime Minister, let me put it in simplest form for you to understand well. This is not what the rakyat want.. The rakyat wants you to get to the root of the problem and serve justice for all those affected by that incident. That incident has created more adverse effects than you can imagine and the rakyat are still paying for it through no fault of their own. Put those involved where they belong and make them pay for all compensation. The money you use belongs to the rakyat and should be used to take care of rakyats' welfare.
We have waited 21 years for justice and we can wait another 5 years to see it being served. 21 years is indeed a long wait and that put every form of sincerity in doubts. The rakyat have grown beyond "offer candy to calm a child" type of governance.
Meanwhile, an apology is still needed.

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