...and a tribute to former Lord President Tun Salleh Abas and the 5 brave judges - Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, (the late) Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader, Tan Sri Wan Hamzah Mohamed Salleh, (the late) Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawanteh and Datuk George Seah -- who defended him after he was sacked in 1988.
The judges and lawyers I spoke to at the Malaysian Bar Council dinner tonight were very hopeful of a new beginning for the judiciary in the country.
This was after Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi delivered his keynote address, "Delivering Justice, Renewing Trust" in which he announced judicial reforms including the setting up of a judicial appointment commission.
But what was more important was the Prime Minister's acknowledgment and recognition of Tun Salleh's and the judges' contribution.
Read it here.
Short of saying sorry or offering an apology, Abdulah said the government wanted to recognise “their commitment towards upholding justice and to acknowledge the pain and loss they have endured".
He spoke of compensation i.e. goodwill ex-gratia payment to the judges.
"I do not presume to equate your contributions, pain and loss with mere currency, but I hope that you can accept this as a heartfelt and sincere gesture to mend what has been.”
Indeed, as Salleh had intimated earlier today -- no monetary payment can ever adequately compensate his suffering the last 20 years.
Salleh was present with his wife and children (and their spouses). So was Azmi.
Seah was unable to attend the dinner.
Is this a closure of the sad event in 1988?
And a start of better things for the country?
(Tun Salleh was sacked on Aug 8, 1988 by a tribunal for misconduct. The 5 judges were suspended for granting Tun an interlocutory order against the tribunal.
Tan Sri Azmi, Tan Sri Wan Hamzah and Tan Sri Eusoffe were reinstated while Seah and Wan Suleiman were sacked.)