“Ask the tribunal to apologise.” (Mahathir Mohammad, on 28 March 2008)
He said the dismissal of former Lord President Mohd Salleh Abbas and Supreme Court judges Wan Sulaiman Pawanteh and George Seah were not his doing. He, therefore, feels no obligation to apologise. If any party were to apologise, it should be the members of the tribunal led by Hamid Omar which sacked Salleh.
I can’t believe those who would absolve former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad from this absolute crisis and criminal act – the 1988 judicial crisis, which started the rot in the very institution that seeks justice. The decline in its credibility is impossible to reverse now, until we sack all those in the palace of (in) justice.
Blind loyalty to the man (for many, including many prominent bloggers)has blinded even one’s sense of justice of what is wrong or right. How can you trust such creatures, ever.
For these kind of people, justice can be compromised, negotiated, perhaps even bought and sold.
How can you let someone off, just because he has stepped down? Then we may as well shut down the International Criminal Courts which prosecute crimes against humanity. Only those who stand to lose like China, India and USA are critical of it. And you can guess why.
We cannot move on to carve a bright future, without dealing with the past. We cannot forget the rights of victims without making the past accountable for its wrongs. This is compassion. This is justice.
As always, DAP Karpal Singh has his mind in the right place. He said that calling the present government and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to apologise for it was a wrong step. It is Mahathir who should say “sorry” and be held accountable (STAR).
“It is not the present administration which convened those tribunals. The two tribunals in 1988 were initiated by Dr Mahathir. So he should apologise,” said the Bukit Gelugor MP.
He was not alone in his thoughts.
Param Cumaraswamy, a former Malaysian Bar president, named Mahathir, Attorney-General Abu Talib Othman (currently chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia) and Chief Justice Hamid Omar as those deemed accountable. (Malaysiakini)
“There were other personalities who carried out what in military terms is called ‘superior orders’ for fear of being dismissed from their positions,” said Param, who was also former United Nations special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.
This is the history, lest Malaysians forget:
In 1988, Mahathir had convened a special tribunal to try Lord President Salleh Abas (photo) on charges of misconduct and for questioning constitutional amendments that seriously eroded the powers of the judiciary. Salleh was subsequently sacked.
Supreme Court judges George 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 Kamaruddin, Eusoffe Abdoolcader and Wan Hamzah Mohamed Salleh 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.
To me, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim’s proposal that the Federal Government apologise to the victims of the 1988 judicial crisis is really naive. Doesn’t he know history? Please think again.
Zaid was also quoted as saying that although the crisis was 20 years ago, an apology was needed as it was wrongly handled and that the then Lord President’s sacking was inappropriate.
Everyone knows this, what we want is an end to impunity, and the ones responsible be accountable and made to pay for it !!!!
This is the only credible manner in which to set an example for all future wrong doers. If we allow the past to remain ‘past tense’, we are merely allowing the present or the future to have a precedent.
I hope those who think that they are doing the world a favour by allowing the past to escape justice, will not regret when their future generation turns around and ask them: Why didn’t you say anything when you had a chance to?”
In short, sorry no cure. Punishment is.