LIVE COVERAGE: PM announces Judicial Commission, stops short of apology


2145: The announcement of an ex gratia payment/financial compensation has not gone down well with some of the lawyers present. There is some discussion at the dinner tables about whether it would look as if judges could be sacked and later paid off as a crude way of saying sorry. One of the lawyers asks a family member of one of the affected judges in 1988 whether the Prime Minister’s words were sufficient and the response is an emphatic “No”. Others among the lawyers say they understand Abdullah’s predicament. If he had given an outright apology, he would have come under fire from opponents within his party.

2120: Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has stopped short of an apology in his speech titled Delivering Justice, Renewing Trust. The PM says that in recognition of what the sacked judges endured in 1988 and their sacrifice, the government will make an ex gratia payment to them or to their families. He concedes that the level of trust in the judiciary is not as strong as before and says there is a need for built-in safeguards. He adds that he has taken a leap of faith by appointing an outspoken maverick as de facto law minister. Then the big news: the setting up of a commission for judicial appointments – not immediately, but in the pipeline. The salary scheme for judges will also be reviewed to attract the best legal minds to the profession.

2101: It is the PM’s turn now.

2051: Zaid Ibrahim addresses the dinner. He quotes tongue in cheek from the 1970 movie “Love Story”: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry…” Does he know what the PM is going to say?

2039: Bar Council president Ambiga is giving her speech. She acknowledges the PM’s role in loosening the tight grip on fundamental rights, a lawyer tells me. She also proposes that the original wording of Article 121(1) of the Federal Constitution be restored. And she wants the PM to look into the plight of ISA detainees.

2035: PM Abdullah Badawi arrives.

2000: Present among the 650 guests are Wan Azizah, Lim Kit Siang, Koh Tsu Koon, Salleh Abas, Dzaiddin and other judges and family members affected by the 1988 judicial crisis. Gani Patail and Zaid Ibrahim are also in attendance.

1930: The Bar Council dinner, jointly organised with the government, at the Marriot Hotel in KL gets under way. Among the guests is Samy Vellu. Lawyers murmur among themselves, “What’s he doing here?”

1800: A Singapore Straits Times report earlier today says Abdullah Badawi is expected to announce major reforms: a Judicial Commission to appoint judges, greater independence for the judiciary, financial compensation to sacked judges, and an expression of regret. We shall see. The report, however, quotes former Court of Appeal judge V C George as saying, “‘An apology or expression of regret would be sweeping everything that happened 20 years ago under the carpet… We need an investigation into the events of 1988 and to expose the conspiracy and its conspirators.”

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John Keadilan Borneo

I STRONGLY DISAGREE…. BADAWI .. shall not apologise.. Hell, he may be part of UMNO when (mahathir) sack the judges, but he was seeen to be in Anwars Team B at the time and one of the few to survive internal UMNO election. How he played his game to be the one chosen to succeed (Mahathir) is politics… Badawi’s only mistake is he waited too long to correct this wrong, only after the correct correct correct is made public did he do something, by that time the Rakyats are already fed up. NEVERTHELESS, we should demand that ACTIOM be taken… Read more »

Ramli S

We should stop listening to Badawi and the BN government. No matter what they say, we will always be disappointed in the end because they always,”cakap tak serupa bikin”. UMNO is led by men without character nor ability. Just look what we got after financing one of them through Oxford. We got an idiot who leads by threatening racial violence!

Concentrate on getting them replaced by Pakatan Rakyat. Then we can finally have a clean Judiciary, safe streets, better education and a vibrant economy.



The appointment of Judges should be solely on merit and character as white as snow, not on Ketuanan Melayu.

I hope the ex-gratia payment covers all the lost pension benefits due plus compensation sum. No amount of money can repay the anguish the families have sufferred.


Moral giants and forgiving gentlemen! Tun Salleh, Tan Sri Azmi and the family of George Seah are happy they have won a moral victory. This victory is due to them and it has been denied for them for 20 years! Tun Salleh and his brother justices’ anguishes and pain can never be really felt and understood by any of us! They paid a heavy personal price to uphold a principle. If it is any consolation, the rakyat has always hold the wronged justices in the highest regards. Through the 20 years this respect has never wavered. The PM’s action has… Read more »


P.s. is the sheep coming out of the wolf’s clothing?


I’ve just watched TV3’s nightline. ” 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” said Badawi. The bas****s cut off what I’m sure would have been a rousing applause.

I think that after Anwar, Badawi has been the most misunderstood politician. All the inaction on his part has had an opposite and equal reaction. They never saw that one coming.


I concede to the saying of former Court of Appeal judge V C George, “‘An apology or expression of regret would be sweeping everything that happened 20 years ago under the carpet… We need an investigation into the events of 1988 and to expose the conspiracy and its conspirators.” Investigate to the core and punish those tainted corruptors who brought the judiciary down to the knees. Mayday For Justice is not over yet from 1988………


“‘An apology or expression of regret would be sweeping everything that happened 20 years ago under the carpet… We need an investigation into the events of 1988 and to expose the conspiracy and its conspirators.” Yes, this tragedy needs to be thoroughly investigated. It was after the judiciary was brutally destroyed that the regime at that time managed to engage in large scale plundering, which included the assets of the original UMNO too. A thorough investigation will help to restore the image of our judiciary and will also help UMNO to trace where its assets had gone and to whom,… Read more »


Love means never having to say sorry. Are you kidding me? That should come from the dictator himself.

raj raman

badawi cant even reform his racist party and i wondering how how he going to reform the judicial.More promises (or) lies(?)

Mr.anil,i need your help,badawi spending our tax payer money to please the judges.Having good dinner.



We are talking about Fairness, aren’t we! Knowing the constraints the PM is facing and the difficult situation he is in, he deserves to be commended for what he has done. The wronged judges there last night expressed satisfaction with what was proposed by the PM. This matter should be left with the PM to take it forward for its implementation. There may be some who are are still dissatisfied, they think the PM has not gone far enough. Let us give credit where credit is due. In the past 20 years of Mahathir’s rule, no one had managed to… Read more »

Dr. Hamid Ibrahim

Dear Anil Thank you. The BN waited for 20 years and after losing in the general election, now their eyes are open. I read the news this morning in the SUN. The BN has not fully acknowledged their great Judicial horror of 1988, but they are just trying to make up. As we wrote in the ALIRAN – the latest issue – that the BN government shoud establish a Legal Services Commission – now it is going to come into fruition. This is only a first step. What Malaysia needs a Law Commission which all the civilised nations in the… Read more »

muttaqin othman

Justice delayed is justice denied. There is no way that anyone can accept this as closure to the sordid political episode created by Mahathir and his gang. This would mean this current crop of politicians can arrange something else in that vein, bury it for 20 years and then come up with another BN politician to deliver “closure” along the same lines later. Too much politics and too little leadership breeds politicans, not leaders. And cases like these abound. What we need is a leader with a real sense of justice and fairness and the gumption to do what is… Read more »