Thursday, April 17, 2008

PM to announce judiciary reforms tonight

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is set to announce major reforms to the judiciary at a dinner tonight.

The reforms are expected to include the setting up of a Judicial Commission on the appointment of judges, a move likely to be seen as restoring the judiciary's independence, lawyers said. At the special dinner hosted jointly by the government and the Bar Council tonight, the premier is also expected to make an expression of regret over the 1988 judicial crisis which led to the sacking of the then Lord President Tun Salleh Abas and two Federal Court judges.

Apart from that, the former judges are also expected to receive some goodwill compensation in the form of back pay pensions for the sad episode.

Salleh, had in March 1988, written to the king on behalf of the judges expressing disappointment with accusations made by then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad (now Tun) against the judiciary.

Two months after that, Salleh was suspended and High Court of Malaya Chief Justice Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Omar was appointed acting Lord President.

Salleh was then brought before a tribunal for misconduct.

In response, he filed a suit in the High Court challenging the constitutionality of the tribunal.

He also applied for an interim stay against the tribunal but it was denied.

Five judges of the Supreme Court convened and granted Salleh an interlocutory (interim) order against the tribunal.

This order was later set aside and in August 1988, Salleh was officially removed from the post of Lord President.

The five Supreme Court judges who granted Salleh the interlocutory order - Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader, Tan Sri Wan Hamzah Mohamed Salleh, Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawan Teh and Datuk George Seah - were suspended. In October, Wan Sulaiman and Seah were sacked while three other judges were reinstated.

Umno selangor minta paklah berhenti.

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