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Monday March 24, 2008

Bar Council backs Salleh apology move


PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Bar Council has given its full support to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim’s proposal that the Federal Government make an apology to the victims of the 1988 judicial crisis. 

It’s president Ambiga Sreenevasan said: “It is high time to do such things, which had been there for some 20 years and the minister’s move is absolutely correct. We wholeheartedly support him.  

“Everybody knows that the 1988 judicial crisis was all a sham. Might as well do the right thing now. What had happened then was an executive interference in the judiciary.” 

Voting right: Salleh (left) registering to vote at the SK Seberang Jertih for the Besut parliamentary seat in the March 8 general election. Inset: A 1988 file picture of Salleh after his sacking as Lord Presiden
On the judicial appointment commission, she said it had been on the Bar’s wish list and hoped to work with Zaid on it. 

Zaid was also quoted as saying that although the crisis was 20 years ago, an apology was needed as it was wrongly handled and then Lord President Tun Mohd Salleh Abbas’ sacking was inappropriate.  

The crisis also led to five Supreme Court judges, who granted an interlocutory order made by Salleh, to be suspended.  

They were Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader, Tan Sri Wan Hamzah Mohamed Salleh, Tan Sri Wan Sulaiman Pawanteh and Datuk George Seah.                

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad said there was no harm in apologising to Salleh. 

“The Government has apologised for so many other things to the people, such as the untimely destruction of temples and other issues. So, why not an apology to a former Lord President?” he said. 

PKR president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the Government should set up an independent commission to look and review the judicial system to bring back its integrity. 

“It’s up to Tun Salleh whether he wants to accept the apology or not. 

“ The main point is to correct the mistakes that were made in the past,” said Dr Wan Azizah. 

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