Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia's First and Greatest Prime Minister


Malaysia Day Speech, 16 Sept 1963

THE great day we have long awaited has come at last – the birth of Malaysia. In a warm spirit or joy and hope, 10 million people of many races in all the States of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah now join hands in freedom and unity.

We do so because we know that we have come together through our own free will and desire in the true spirit of brotherhood and love of freedom.
We have made our decision after much care and thought, finally arriving at mutual consent by debate and discussion, inquiries and elections held over 2 and a half years.

We can feel proud indeed of the way we have created Malaysia through friendly argument and compromise. The spirit of co-operation and concord is living proof of the desire we share for a common destiny.

What better basis for Malaysia can there be, what finer augury for the future?
The road to nationhood has not been an easy journey. Surprises and disappointments, tension and crisis, have marred the way.

The peoples of Malaysia, however, have endured all trials and tribulations with confidence and patience, calmness and forbearance, with faith in our final goal — Malaysia.

In the first eighteen months of political and constitutional discussions, beginning from May 1961, things went ahead favourably, because the ideal of Malaysia caught the imagination of all the peoples concerned.

We can all recall the remarkable enthusiasm and interest aroused then in the evolution of Malaysia.

Step by step the concept came to life. The activities of the Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee, the merger talks between the Federation of Malaya and Singapore, the broad agreement reached in London to establish Malaysia, the appointment of the Cobbold Commission and its exhaustive inquiries in the Borneo Territories, and the subsequent establishment of the Inter-Governmental Committee — all these steps were taken in internal harmony and in full public view.

Suddenly towards the end of 1962 the situation changed. Communist China committed unjustifiable aggression against India. I stood up for democracy and condemned China’s attack.

One immediate reaction was that Communists throughout South-east Asia retaliated by an indirect assault upon me by opposing my idea of Malaysia, and they set about creating every possible difficulty to baulk Malaysia.

Other external complications occurred – the Philippines’ claim to North Borneo, the sudden and abortive revolt in Brunei, and the startling adoption by Indonesia of a policy of confrontation against Malaya.

All these events projected an international crisis in South-east Asia this year, the climax coming in June. The successful meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Malaya, Indonesia and the Philippines, followed by my own conference with President Soekarno in Tokyo eased tension considerably and brought new hopes for harmony and peace.

Prospects for a Summit Conference were good, confrontation from Indonesia subsided, so we went ahead with arrangements for the final talks in London on Malaysia.

The Malaysia Agreement was duly signed in early July. Unexpectedly Indonesia reacted most strongly, renewing its policy of confrontation with the result that the Summit conference of leaders of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines at the end of July began in an atmosphere of doubt.

The Summit conference ended in an agreement by the three countries to form an Association of States of Malay origin to be known as Maphilindo.

It was agreed that in order that the partners in Maphilindo could welcome Malaysia the United Nations Secretary-General should be asked to ascertain anew the wishes of the peoples of Sarawak and Sabah. That request has not been implemented.

Now finally the peoples of Malaysia are celebrating the establishment of Malaysia. This is the time to think earnestly and hopefully on the future of Malaysia as the whole country resounds with joy.

So I pray that God may bless the nation of Malaysia with eternal peace and happiness for our people.

The Federation of Malaya now passes into history. Let us always remember that the Malayan Nation was formed after many difficulties during a long period of national Emergency, yet its multi-racial society emerged, endured and survived as a successful and progressive nation, a true democracy and an example to the world of harmony and tolerance.

As it was with Malaya, so it can be with Malaysia. With trust in Almighty God, unity of purpose and faith in ourselves, we can make Malaysia a land of prosperity and peace.

In doing so let every Malaysian in all the States of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah ensure that our Malaysia is truly worthy of the aims and hopes we have shared, the trials and stress, we have endured, in working together to achieve our common destiny.



Tunku Abdul Rahman 1988 - "Biarlah Saya Mati Dalam Perjuangan"


A Short History of Southeast Asia: Malaysia

More than 60 ethnic or culturally differentiated groups can be found in Malaysia’s population of just under 20 million, but the most crucial population division is that between Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera people. The Bumiputeras are those with cultural affinities indigenous to Peninsular and Bornean Malaysia and the immediate region. Malays constitute the principal Bumiputera group and account for around 55 per cent of Malaysia’s population. Non-Bumiputeras are people whose cultural affinities lie outside Malaysia and its region – principally people of Chinese and Indian descent. Chinese constitute about 32 per cent of Malaysia’s population and Indians about 8 per cent.
The Malays have a long history and, since the 15th century, an Islamic culture in which they take pride. In the colonial era, however, their cultural world – extending across the Malay Peninsula and Indonesian Archipelago – was divided by Western colonial powers. In British Malaya and northern Borneo Malays were relegated to minor social roles and virtually excluded from the foreign-financed modernising economy, which utilised immigrant labour. Malaysia’s history since World War II has been primarily the story of the reassertion of Malay primacy without precipitating serious racial discord.
Malaysia’s stability has enabled vast economic growth, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s. The stability has been at the expense, however, of some elements of the democratic system with which Malaysia began as an independent nation. Malay advancement has also had an ironic political consequence – nowadays rifts and rivalries within the Malay community need as much adroit political management as the differences between Malaysia’s ethnic groups.
Early history
The early history of the territories which now form Malaysia is shadowy, a matter of cryptic archaeological clues and obscure references in Chinese and other written sources. The limited evidence suggests, however, that in the first millennium A.D. both the Malay Peninsula and the northern Borneo coast were important landfalls for merchant vessels involved in the great maritime trading networks that linked Southeast Asia with Africa, the Middle East, India and China. Port cities arose on the Peninsula and on Borneo as they did elsewhere in Southeast Asia, offering merchants safe harbourage, trans-shipment facilities and collection points for the region’s prized commodities – gold, tin and other minerals, rare woods, resins and other jungle produce, tortoiseshell, cowries and other marine produce, and – supremely – spices.
Malay history is often seen as beginning, however, in southern Sumatra. Scholars believe that between the 7th and 14th centuries the Palembang region of southern Sumatra was the focus of a major maritime empire. They called the central imperial state Sri Vijaya, though evidence about it is fragmentary and inconclusive. Close by Sri Vijaya, and at times possibly its capital, was a place called Melayu, perhaps the cradle of Malay culture. The Sri Vijayan empire at its height probably dominated the trade of most of Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, western Java and western Borneo. It enjoyed Chinese and Indian patronage and, like most of Southeast Asia in the first millennium A.D., it borrowed and adapted Indian culture and religion. Its religion was probably a variant of Mahayana Buddhism.
Melaka and Malay culture: the 15th century
In the 14th century Sri Vijaya was suppressed by the Javanese kingdom of Majapahit, a rival for control of Archipelago trade. Refugees from Sri Vijaya moved north to the Riau-Lingga islands, then on to Singapore island and other locations before eventually founding the city of Melaka (Malacca). The Sejarah Melayu (the ‘Malay Annals’) has it that their leader, Sultan Iskandar, was out hunting one day when one of his dogs was kicked by a mousedeer, normally the most timid and tremulous of animals. He took the mousedeer’s courage as a fine omen for the new city.
Founded about 1400, Melaka would enjoy a century of greatness, both as a major trade centre and as a great cultural centre. Melakan Malay culture would be admired and adopted in many parts of the Peninsula and Archipelago, including northern Borneo. Tales of Melaka’s wealth and influence would reach even Europe, making it a prime target for conquest when Westerners sailed into the Eastern seas.
Melaka’s trading prowess was based on a number of factors. Its position was excellent, commanding the busy Strait which took its name. Its rulers established efficient and secure conditions for traders, on land and on nearby sea lanes. Potential rival ports were brought into a tributary relationship to Melaka. At the height of its power Melaka probably dominated the Peninsula as far north as Perak (in the north of what is now known as Malaysia), the Riau-Lingga Archipelago and most of Sumatra’s east coast.
At the same time Melaka took care to become a tributary of powers greater than itself – most importantly China but also Majapahit and the Thai state of Ayudhya. Sending tribute to such powers meant no loss of independence in practical terms, but did encourage such powers to send their traders to Melaka. A Chinese community quickly settled and became a feature of Melakan society, making Chinese people a part of Malaysian history effectively from its beginning.
At some time early in the 15th century Melaka’s rulers adopted Islam, and this too contributed to the city’s success, making it a favoured destination for Arab and Indian Muslim traders. Although some smaller ports in northern Sumatra preceded Melaka in turning to Islam, Melaka’s conversion triggered the Islamisation of the Peninsula and Archipelago. Over the next century, port city after port city would adopt the religion of the most powerful, prestigious and culturally dynamic of their number. Along with its religion the port cities also tended to adopt the Melakan form of government – a blend of Middle Eastern Islamic forms with Indian forms brought from Sri Vijaya – and the language of Melaka, Malay. Malay thus became the most widely understood language in the region. In the 20th century Malay would become not only the language of Malaysia and Brunei but, as the language of trade in the Archipelago for centuries, it would form the basis of the Indonesian national language.
The golden age of Melaka ended abruptly in August 1511, when after a month’s siege the city fell to the superior guns of the Portuguese. The Portuguese hoped to take command of Melaka’s trading networks, particularly its control over spices from the Moluccas. However, while the European newcomers had the power to take control of the city and the Strait it overlooked, they lacked the resources to control the entire region and compel trade to continue at Melaka. Their posture as enemies of Islam scarcely helped. The Portuguese coup probably only stimulated the Malay trading world, as other port cities vied to take the fallen city’s place, championing with new urgency Melaka’s former religion and culture.
One state exemplifying this effect was Brunei, a port city dominating Borneo’s north coast (then encompassing not only modern Brunei but also the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah). Chinese records suggest that a port state, ‘P’o – ni’, existed in the region from the 5th century. About 1514, Brunei’s rulers accepted Islam, emphasised their connections with Melaka’s former ruling dynasty, and began to develop a ‘Brunei-Malay’ culture.
A threatening world: the 16th to 18th centuries
Following the loss of Melaka, its ruling elite and their followers eventually established the sultanate of Johor, commanding the southern Peninsula and Riau islands. Elsewhere on the Peninsula other states flourished, usually claiming legitimacy through connection with the former Melaka and paying tribute to Johor.
In spite of Portuguese attempts to subdue Johor it prospered in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, especially when the Dutch arrived on the scene. Basing themselves in Java, the Dutch saw Johor as a useful counterweight to the Portuguese at Melaka and developed trading arrangements with the sultanate. In 1641 Johor helped the Dutch oust the Portuguese from Melaka, which then became a minor, outlying base in a growing Dutch empire.
The Dutch had considerably greater resources than the Portuguese had been able to deploy – and also, by the 17th century, greater resources than another Western power, the Spanish, who had established themselves in the Philippine archipelago in the previous century. But Dutch resources were not enough to fulfil their intended goal of trade dominance over the region. The Malay-Muslim trading world of the Peninsula and Archipelago thus persisted with considerable vigour after the advent of the Dutch.
The Dutch did attempt, however, to monopolise the region’s most lucrative products, particularly the spices. They also took care to concentrate their naval and military resources against any state which emerged as a major threat to their monopolising strategies. Thus no Malay state could ever hope to recreate the commercial power of 15th century Melaka. Johor and other Malay states were now narrowly restricted in their trading and political potential.
One consequence was the heightened, and in the end mutually destructive, competition between states. Johor, for example, long regarded Aceh and other Sumatran trading states as more serious opponents than any Western power. In northern Borneo, Brunei, which had suffered Spanish attacks in 1578, saw as its most serious opponent the slave-trading sultanate of Sulu (located in what is today the southern Philippines). In the 17th century Sulu acquired from Brunei sovereignty over most of the area which today constitutes the Malaysian state of Sabah.
The scramble for diminishing trade share may account for the internal instability for which many Malay states would become notorious. A Malay sultan was in theory an awesome figure. Both Southeast Asia’s pre-Muslim Hindu-Buddhist traditions and Muslim thought invested him with divinely ordained power, making him temporal and spiritual supremo in his realm. Most Malay commoners existed in debt-bondage relationships with their royal and noble superiors, and trembled before their authority, but the Malay ruling classes competed vigorously amongst themselves for power and control of the material and human resources of their states.
This could mean merely that sultans were often weak, ineffectual rulers. More damagingly it could mean lengthy periods of civil strife. In one such episode Sultan Mahmud of Johor was murdered in 1699; he was the last direct descendant of the Melakan royal house. His death foreshadowed more than a century of unstable authority in the sultanate and in other Peninsular states.
The politics of the Malay states were further complicated in the 18th century by a number of regional migrations. Bugis groups originating in Sulawesi (known previously as the Celebes) established themselves in many states of the Peninsula and Archipelago. Skilled sailor-navigators, fighters and traders, the Bugis often became the dominant force in states where they settled. On the Peninsula, Selangor became effectively a Bugis state. Meanwhile Minangkabau groups from the west Sumatra highlands were also colonising Sumatra’s east coast and crossing the Melaka Strait to the Peninsula, where they established communities which ultimately would form the basis of the state of Negeri Sembilan. In northwestern Borneo the sultanate of Brunei had to come to terms with the adventurous and fearsome ‘head-hunter’ warriors who spearheaded the migrations of Dayak (Iban) communities. Rival Brunei chiefs often struck up alliances with rival Dayak groups, sharpening conflict in the sultanate. Both the Bugis and Minangkabau migrants of the 18th century would, over time, adopt Malay-Muslim custom and to all intents and purposes merge with Malay society. The Dayaks would be tamed under British colonial rule but would always retain their distinctive, non-Muslim, cultures.
Other factors would also increase instability in the 18th century Malay world. The growing power of the British in India reoriented the trading patterns of the sub-continent. British traders in Southeast Asia were often welcomed as potential allies against other Western or local powers, but their cargoes, featuring opium and firearms, were deadly. Meanwhile, Chinese doing business in the region tended increasingly to favour linkages with Westerners rather than local governments. They were thus heralding the ‘middle men’ roles which Chinese would hold between the indigenous peoples and the Western colonial regimes of the 19th and 20th centuries.
On the Peninsula the Thais also became a major intrusive force in the later 18th century. The Thai kingdom of Ayudhya had claimed sovereignty on the Peninsula since the 14th century, and often exacted tribute from the more northerly states. In 1767 the city of Ayudhya was destroyed by the Burmese, but from 1782 a new Thai dynasty arose – the Chakri (still Thailand’s royal house) – with a new capital, Bangkok. The early Chakri monarchs were determined to assert Thai royal authority more firmly than ever before. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries the northern Malay states of Patani, Kelantan, Kedah, Perak and to a lesser extent Trengganu all experienced Thai pressures.
Patani effectively lost its independence and was absorbed within the Thai administrative sphere, thus creating a permanent Malay-Muslim minority in Buddhist Thailand. The other states continued as tributaries, running their own affairs, but Bangkok’s enforcement of tribute payments and other decrees could be brutal and destructive.
In 1786 the ruler of Kedah, hoping to win an ally against the Thais, ceded Penang island to the (British) East India Company, which was looking for a safe harbour and trading base in the region. In 1800 a strip of territory on the mainland opposite the island was also ceded. The Kedah rulers merely acquired an annual pension for the ceded territory; to their chagrin the Company firmly refused to become involved in their struggles with the Thais. However the first step had been taken towards British occupation of the Peninsula.
The British advance: the 19th century
In 1819 the East India Company acquired Singapore island from Johor. In 1824 an Anglo–Dutch treaty delivered Melaka into British hands too, as part of a delineation by the two European powers of their respective spheres of influence in maritime Southeast Asia. Making the Melaka Straits a frontier, the British took the Peninsula as their preserve, while the Dutch took Sumatra and all islands to the south of Singapore. Northern Borneo was not mentioned, though British interests would claim later, in the face of Dutch protests, that the terms of the 1824 treaty made that area a British sphere of influence too.
The 1824 treaty effectively determined the future boundaries of the British and Dutch colonial possessions in the region, and also of the nation states which would emerge from the colonial era, Malaysia and Indonesia. In the 1820s, however, the British had no intention of entangling themselves in the Peninsula. They were satisfied with the Straits Settlements, as Singapore, Melaka and Penang became known from 1826. (The Straits Settlements remained under the East India Company until 1858, when the government of British India took over. In 1867 they were transferred to the control of the British Colonial Office.)
The Straits Settlements boomed, and inevitably business interests there, Western and Chinese, became interested in exploiting the Peninsular states. The question arose of whether the states’ traditional administrative structures would be able to cope with the pressures arising from the new economic ventures. The rulers of Johor, closest to Singapore, proved fully equal to a major expansion of Chinese commercial agriculture in their state, principally in pepper and gambier. Kedah was also well governed and able to cope with spill-over pressures from Penang. The ruling groups of other states proved less adroit.
Pahang experienced civil war between 1858 and 1863, partly over the spoils arising from expanding ventures in mining and jungle produce. More seriously, endemic feuding developed within the ruling classes of the western Peninsular states of Perak, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan over the control of vast tin deposits, which began to be worked in the 1840s. The tin was mined by Chinese labourers controlled by secret societies. Rival Malay chiefs aligned themselves and their followers with the forces of rival secret societies. Rival business houses in the Straits Settlements backed one side or the other with money and guns. By the 1860s these states were in anarchy. Demands for official British intervention grew.
In 1874, one of the leading Malay disputants in Perak and the Governor of the Straits Settlements put their names to the Pangkor Treaty. The treaty recognised the former as Sultan, but insisted, crucially, that he should accept a British Resident in his state, whose advice ‘must be asked and acted upon on all questions other than those touching Malay religion and custom’. The British interpreted broadly which matters were unrelated to ‘Malay religion and custom’, so taking effective control of most financial and administrative matters.
The Pangkor Treaty thus pioneered the formula by which the British would achieve authority in the Peninsular states. Constitutionally the states would be ‘protected’ sovereign states, retaining their rulers. Practically the Resident (or in some cases ‘Adviser’) could extend his control as far as the British wished. By the 1880s not only Perak but Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang were under such a system. In 1896 these states became the ‘FMS’ (Federated Malay States) with their federal administrative centre at Kuala Lumpur, a young city growing out of a tin-mining camp.
In 1909, Thailand relinquished its imperial claims to the northern Malay states of Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Trengganu, and Britain moved to install Advisers in these states. In 1914 Johor was also obliged to accept an Adviser, despite its long record of satisfactory administration. Johor and the northern states were not brought under federal administration and became the ‘UMS’ (Unfederated Malay States). Even so, by the second decade of the 20th century the British had begun to talk about ‘Malaya’ – that term disguising a constitutional hotch-potch of Crown colony (the Straits Settlements) and nine protected sovereign states, four of them federated and five not.
In northern Borneo, meanwhile, two unique – indeed eccentric – expressions of British colonialism had emerged at the expense of the sultanate of Brunei. Brunei was impoverished in the 19th century and further weakened by bitter factionalism within its ruling class. In 1840 a British adventurer, James Brooke, was recruited to quell a revolt in the Sarawak river region, at the sultanate’s western extremity. Between 1841 and 1843 Brooke acquired full possession of the region and made the town of Kuching (meaning cat in the Malay language) his base. From there he and his nephew and successor as ‘White Raja’ Charles Brooke (ruler 1868 – 1917) expanded their territory eastward, establishing Sarawak’s final borders shortly after the turn of the century. Brunei would be left as two small enclaves within Sarawak.
Several factors propelled Brooke expansionism, the most important being Brunei’s poverty and the dispersal of power in the sultanate, which made the piecemeal acquisition of territory for small sums relatively easy. In addition, in the 1840s the British navy saw James Brooke as an ally in its efforts to stamp out piracy in Southeast Asian waters. Brooke was backed on several occasions by intimidating displays of British naval power when dealing with Brunei. From the 1850s British support was withheld from the Brookes, for fear that such private imperial ventures might embarrass Britain, but this made no difference. The Brookes had their own source of intimidating power – large contingents of Dayak warriors. They also had an idealistic rationale for their advance, believing that they were developing a unique experiment in efficient and benevolent government for native peoples.
Competition would add further urgency to Charles’ expansionism from the 1870s. In 1877–78 a British business consortium acquired the rights to most of the territory of Sabah, to Brunei’s east, from Brunei and from the sultanate of Sulu in what is now the southern Philippines. (Here was the origin of a dormant but still unresolved dispute over Sabah between the Philippines and Malaysia. The Philippines, as successor state to Sulu, claims that Sulu merely ‘leased’ rather than ‘ceded’ its rights in Sabah.) By 1881 the business consortium had persuaded the British government to charter a company, financed by shares, to administer the Sabahan territories, hopefully at a profit. Thus Sabah became ‘British North Borneo’, governed by the British North Borneo Chartered Company.
Charles Brooke was outraged. During the 1880s and 1890s there was fierce competition between him and the Chartered Company over the Brunei territories that remained unceded. In 1888 Britain moved to guarantee that at least the core lands of the sultanate should survive, making Brunei a British protectorate. In 1906 Brunei received a British Adviser, with powers similar to those of Residents in the Peninsular states. By then Brunei had new-found economic significance; large oil deposits had been located in Brunei Bay.
The colonial era
On the Peninsula the extension of British control met with some opposition but it was soon quelled. The British now set about creating an environment for economic expansion. The tin industry which had boomed in the 1840s continued to grow, moving from Chinese to Western control in the 20th century when capital-intensive mechanisation of the industry arrived. In the first decade of the 20th century rubber cultivation boomed. By 1930 two thirds of the cultivated land on the Peninsula would be under rubber.
Malayan tin and Malayan rubber would dominate their respective world markets, and, despite their price instability, would make the Peninsula one of Britain’s most valued imperial possessions. The success of these commodities meant that economic diversification was limited. Crops such as pepper, sugar and coffee were largely swept aside by rubber after 1900. Some limited progress was made with palm oil, pineapples and timber in the more cautious 1920s and 1930s. No significant industrialisation occurred. However the road and rail networks which the British established formed the basis for a good communications infrastructure. Chinese activity in such areas as finance, transportation, construction, small scale industry and retail trading was also establishing a strong base for the area’s economic future.
Chinese immigration swelled in the colonial era, pulled by the economic opportunities opening up and pushed by the dire conditions in China. The British left Chinese immigration uncontrolled until 1930, when the Great Depression ended any demand for additional labour. Meanwhile the British had also recruited Indian labour. The Chinese and Indians had always been regarded as transients, but by the 1930s significant numbers had either decided to settle or lacked the ability to return to their homelands. The 1931 census revealed that Malays no longer formed the majority in the total population of the Malay States and Straits Settlements. This was despite another aspect of immigration to the Peninsula in this era – the arrival in substantial numbers of Malay-Muslim people from various parts of the Archipelago.
Divisions between Malays, Chinese and Indians, already culturally profound, were deepened by British perceptions and policies. Racial stereotyping meant that the Malays were effectively excluded from the modernising economy. Their upper class was encouraged to think about an English public school-style education and a career within the branch of government which administered the Malays. Ordinary Malays were envisaged as rice farmers and fisherfolk, and their vernacular education was tailored to such humble goals.
The growing towns and cities of colonial Malaya, predominantly populated by Chinese, became alien places to most Malays. Meanwhile the Chinese were subject to a separate branch of government and managed their own education systems, in Chinese languages or English. Most Indians were effectively subjects of the rubber estates on which they laboured; their children received Indian language education.
Such separation of the communities made the emergence of nationalism, in the sense of a pan-ethnic movement, unlikely. Prior to World War II the British in Malaya were virtually unbothered by the sort of anti-colonial sentiment disturbing other Western colonies in Asia. Divisions within Malaya’s communities furthered this state of affairs. Most Malays still tended to be loyal to their particular state and sultan. The Chinese were divided by differences of clan and dialect, and by the battle between Kuomintang and Communists in China.
However, education in various forms was beginning to produce people within each of the ethnic communities who were not content to leave the future entirely to the British. Amongst Malays, pan-Malay and pan-Muslim attitudes were stirring in the 1930s, heralding strong Malay political organisation later. A few Malay radicals believed that the Peninsula should become part of the Indonesia envisaged by the nationalists of the Netherlands East Indies. The Communist Party of Malaya, founded in 1930, was mainly Chinese in membership and in the 1930s mainly interested in events in China, but it had begun to analyse the potential for revolution in Malaya. Many Indians were gaining political confidence from news about the struggle against the British in the sub-continent. Soon, war would accelerate dramatically the significance of these political awakenings.
Meanwhile Sarawak and British North Borneo were quiet backwaters of the colonial world. Both had experienced major rebellions against the imposition of white authority, but resistance had been largely put down by 1900. Thereafter, change was slow. Neither territory attracted more than minor economic development, and the Brooke government (from 1917 under the third raja, Vyner Brooke) and the Chartered Company always survived on tight budgets. The Brookes made a virtue of that fact by arguing that they were deliberately protecting their subjects from the evils of modernisation. The provision of education was extremely limited in both territories, much of it being left to Christian missions.
In one regard – that of racial stereotyping – the theory of administration in Sarawak conformed closely to British theory in the Peninsular states. In Brooke eyes Sarawak’s Malay-Muslims would provide native administrators, the immigrant Chinese (over 30 per cent of the population by the early 20th century) would drive the commercial economy, while the Dayaks (Ibans) would remain within their traditional culture, except in the matter of head-hunting, for which the administration substituted police and military work. The Chartered Company, by contrast, was relatively relaxed in its dealings with its ethnically diverse population. It welcomed administrative and commercial talent from any group, and allowed complex intercommunal relationships to flourish. The communal rigidities of Sarawak and the Peninsular states did not therefore develop to the same degree in Sabah.
Japanese occupation
Japanese forces attacked British Malaya on 8 December 1941. Singapore, the supreme symbol of British power in Southeast Asia, fell on 15 February 1942. Sarawak and British North Borneo were occupied without a shot. Over three and a half years of Japanese occupation would follow, until British military administrators would return in August/September 1945. The principal results of these years were devastation of the pre-war economy, a much more politicised populace than before, and also a much more divided populace.
The Japanese presented themselves to Malay-Muslims as their patron, respectful of Islam and of Malay culture. They fostered pan-Malay consciousness and gave Malays new opportunities in administration. They also encouraged those young Malay radicals hoping for links with the Indonesian nationalists, though few Peninsular Malays supported them and the idea would not get far. Japanese regard for the Malays was thrown into question in 1943, however, when they handed over the four northern Malay states to Thailand. (These states would be returned to British control in 1945.)
The Chinese were treated by the Japanese as war enemies, often with appalling brutality. Not surprisingly, Chinese formed the majority of the underground resistance forces which developed in the Peninsula and in the Borneo-territories. The Peninsular forces were known as the MPAJA (Malayan Peoples’ Anti-Japanese Army), and were to a large degree controlled by members of the CPM (Communist Party of Malaya).
The Indians of Malaya, by contrast, were encouraged by the Japanese to focus their political thoughts on India. Many young Malayan Indians were recruited for service in the Japanese-sponsored but ill-fated INA (Indian National Army).
The post-war period
When the British returned in 1945 they quickly subdued the open inter-communal hostilities which had flared at the war’s end. They were aware, however, that there could be no going back to the complacency of pre-war days. Alongside the massive reconstruction of the economy they also set about fundamental administrative reform. In 1946 Sarawak and British North Borneo – the latter particularly badly damaged by war – were acquired from their former owners and finally became the full responsibility of Britain.
On the Peninsula the British introduced a plan for ‘Malayan Union’, uniting administratively the Malay States, Penang and Melaka (though not Singapore) and giving all residents equal rights of citizenship.
Malays from all states were galvanized by the blithe disregard for states’ rights and Malay pre-eminence over the immigrant peoples. UMNO (United Malays National Organisation) was swiftly formed in protest, and the British were forced to abandon the idea of union. In subsequent talks UMNO agreed, however, to a federal administrative structure, and to citizenship for non-Malays who filled certain strict criteria. The Federation of Malaya was launched in 1948.
In the same year the CPM attempted revolution, using guerrilla warfare tactics and drawing on the experience and organisation gained during the war in the MPAJA. The British declared a state of emergency (the event became known as ‘the Emergency’) and developed counter-insurgency policies which, crucially, won the support of the majority of the population.
By the early 1950s CPM terrorism had been reduced to a minor problem, though emergency regulations were not lifted until 1960. One permanent result of the Emergency was a highly centralised federation, the states having relinquished most of their sovereign powers so that the crisis could be handled efficiently.
Alliance government and Independence
During the Emergency the British promised self-government for Malaya, though at the time it was not clear how this could be achieved in a way acceptable to all communities. Attempts to establish multi-racial political parties met with little success. The largest and best organised party in Malaya, UMNO, was exclusively for Malays. The peril of politicised ethnic rivalry loomed large.
Beginning in 1952, however, a formula for potentially stable self-government was worked out. This was the Alliance, a coalition of three communal based parties. UMNO represented the Malays. The Chinese were represented by the new and politically conservative MCA (Malayan – later Malaysian – Chinese Association). The Malayan – later Malaysian – Indian Congress (MIC) represented the Indian community. The Alliance testified to the pragmatic good sense, diplomatic skills and political generosity of its founders, supremely Tunku Abdul Rahman, UMNO leader and first Prime Minister until 1970. Hugely successful at national elections in 1955, the Alliance achieved merdeka (independence) for the Federation of Malaya in 1957. The new nation’s democratic parliamentary system and its legal system were broadly derived from British models.
The Alliance was not without its flaws, leaving unresolved many issues which Malaysia is still working out. It was a pact, or bargain, between three communal élites which gave the economically weak Malays access to political and administrative power while assuring the other communities of respect for their interests. The Malays were offered a degree of ‘positive discrimination’ but Alliance government basically left the socio-economic imbalances between communities to be worked out by laissez faire forces. In addition, questions of national cultural integration were left largely unresolved. Malay pre-eminence was acknowledged in adopting Islam as the national religion, in the form of monarchy devised (the nine hereditary state rulers would elect a king from their number every five years), and in making Malay the national language, but the application of the national religion and language to the daily lives of non-Malays was extremely circumscribed. It was believed that inter-ethnic suspicions were running too high for such issues to be determined at once.
The creation of Malaysia
Ethnic issues dominated the formation of the Federation of Malaysia. First mooted in 1961, Malaysia was envisaged as a merger of Malaya with Singapore, Sarawak, Sabah (still then British North Borneo) and, perhaps, the sultanate of Brunei. In the event Brunei remained apart, but after cautious negotiation the other territories established Malaysia on 16 September 1963.
The new nation was a delicate exercise in ethnic arithmetic. The non-Chinese majorities of the Borneo states helped balance the inclusion of the predominantly Chinese Singapore, but Singapore entered Malaysia with many constitutional, political and administrative issues left unresolved. Tensions escalated and in August 1965 Tunku Abdul Rahman and Lee Kuan Yew signed a separation agreement.
The 1969 crisis
The 1960s saw Malaysian democracy at its most open, and a number of parties engaging in vigorous criticism of the Alliance. The most notable opposition parties were PAS (Parti Islam Se-Malaysia, originally PMIP, Pan-Malayan Islamic Party), and DAP (Democratic Action Party). PAS was dedicated to building an Islamic state in Malaysia and appealed to Malay voters who saw UMNO as compromised by Western and non-Islamic influences and too ready to bargain with the non-Malays. The DAP picked up support mainly from Chinese voters unhappy with the conservative and Malay-dominated Alliance.
Political passions ran high during the general election campaign of May 1969. The results appeared to diminish the absolute control over government which the Alliance had previously enjoyed. Violent clashes erupted in Kuala Lumpur between perturbed Malays and celebratory Chinese. The riots lasted four days and caused several hundred deaths and heavy destruction of property. A state of emergency was declared and government placed effectively in the hands of a body coordinating military and police action, the National Operations Council (NOC). Some observers feared that Malaysian democracy was dead. This did not prove to be the outcome, but the rage and trauma did lead to substantial political changes.
UMNO and Barisan National government
Government by NOC ended in 1971 and government by federal cabinet, based on parliamentary voting strength, was restored, but the level of political freedom allowed to critics of government policy in the 1960s did not return. Conciliation and consensus-building were to remain a key feature of the Malaysian political scene, but now non-Malays were left in no doubt that their bargaining position was weaker than it may have seemed before May 1969. Malaysian government now adopted much more frankly the character of a primarily Malay government of a primarily Malay nation. Malay interests became paramount in the formulation of government goals and policies. UMNO became unapologetically the dominant political party in Malaysia, and was to increase its power further over the next two decades.
Under Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister until his death in 1976, the Alliance was superseded by a broader coalition of parties, Barisan Nasional (popularly ‘Barisan’). MCA and MIC remained within this coalition but with their influence diluted. The leading pre–1969 opposition parties, however, refused to be subsumed within the UMNO-dominated coalition. DAP has always remained outside Barisan. Pas joined briefly but soon departed. At the present time Pas controls the state government of Kelantan but has never been able to win many federal seats.
Barisan was to prove a device for strong UMNO-led government. The composition of the coalition has fluctuated during the 1970s and 1980s, as has the extent of its winning margins at elections, but following the 1990 general election the Barisan, comprised of nine parties, held 127 of the 180 seats in the federal lower house. Of the 127 Barisan seats UMNO held 71; no other component party held more than 18. DAP, with 20 seats, led the five opposition parties.
NEP and economic growth
Even more important for the direction of Malaysian politics was the establishment in 1971 of the New Economic Policy (NEP). Tun Razak and the ‘second generation’ of Malay politicians saw the need to tackle vigorously the economic and social disparities which fuelled racial antagonism. The NEP set two basic goals with a 1990 target date – to reduce and eventually eradicate poverty, and to reduce and eventually eradicate identification of economic function with race. These goals were to be achieved in the context of high economic growth rates over the next two decades; while NEP would be socially redistributive there would be no absolute ‘losers’.
To meet NEP goals, however, NEP would inevitably mean government favour for the Malays, by far the largest component of Malaysia’s Bumiputera peoples. In the early 1970s Bumiputeras were still predominantly rural-based and involved in agriculture. Around half of Bumiputera households existed below the poverty line. Bumiputeras owned a mere 1.5 per cent of the share capital of companies operating in Malaysia, and accounted for only 4.9 per cent of the country’s registered professionals.
NEP necessitated a dramatic increase in governmental intervention in Malaysian business and in Malaysian society in general. NEP’s ‘big government’ strategies vastly increased UMNO’s power and influence. Under NEP the volumes of public investment and public consumption expenditure increased substantially. In order to increase the Bumiputera stake in the economy, major public enterprises were established to take up share capital ‘in trust’ for Bumiputeras until they were in a position to purchase share capital privately. Some of these enterprises developed elaborate conglomerate business interests.
Government promoted the education and training of Bumiputeras, and access for them at all levels of the public and private sectors. Government also promoted the modernisation of the rural economy, with its predominantly Bumiputera workforce, and of rural life in general, while also supervising the balanced expansion of urban areas. In general, NEP saw the creation of significant Bumiputera commercial, industrial and professional communities. The percentage of Bumiputera households in Peninsular Malaysia deemed in poverty dropped by 1987 to 17.3 per cent in rural areas and about 8 per cent in urban areas.
Simultaneously with the implementation of NEP the Malaysian economy experienced dramatic growth. In the years 1971–1990 the country’s annual average growth in GNP was 6.8 per cent. Per capita GDP moved from $380 to $2,200 (in current US$). Once the purveyor of just two important commodities, rubber and tin, Malaysia now also became a major exporter of oil/LNG, palm oil, timber and manufactures. Growth in manufacturing was particularly spectacular.
By the late 1980s manufactures dominated Malaysia’s exports. Major manufactures included electrical and electronic products, chemicals, processed foods, textiles and processed timber and rubber products. Steel and automobile industries had also been established. The opening of new economic opportunities and the solid rise in prosperity helped mollify those non-Bumiputeras who had feared NEP and who still disliked many of its features, notably the level of government control over business and the favouritism shown towards Malays in areas such as education and employment.
Critics of NEP also argued that its implementation had paid insufficient attention to the non-Malay Bumiputera communities of Sarawak and Sabah, which are now the states with the worst figures on poverty in Malaysia. In 1987 the percentage of Bumiputera households deemed in poverty in Sarawak was 33 per cent; the percentage for Sabah was almost 42 per cent. The critics also argued that the Chinese and Indian poor had been ignored, and that even within the Malay community NEP benefits had tended to be spread to UMNO’s political advantage rather than on the basis of equity.
Eventually economic pressures compelled modification of NEP’s ‘big government’ strategies. In the mid 1980s a drastic fall in commodity prices, virtually across the board, threatened a serious balance of payments crisis. Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister since 1981, and his then Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin pegged back government spending and instituted a policy of privatisation of public enterprises.
Mahathir, a strident champion of Malay advancement, was also motivated to modify NEP strategies by his fear that Malay ‘feather bedding’ would prove self-defeating. NEP has now been replaced by NDP (New Development Policy) which, though retaining NEP’s broad goals, aims in Dr Mahathir’s words to ‘strike an optimum balance between the goals of economic growth and equity’. It is claimed that NDP strategies will concentrate on the more glaring pockets of poverty and disadvantage still existing in a now relatively prosperous Malaysia.
Mahathir and the centralisation of power
Dr Mahathir has been a controversial figure. Before achieving the Prime Ministership in 1981 he was often viewed as a Malay radical who might exacerbate Malaysia’s ethnic tensions. In power, however, he has proved a more complex political personality.
Mahathir has championed the Malays yet he lambasts the dependent attitudes which he thinks NEP fostered. He has promoted Islam in Malaysia, yet reined in its more doctrinaire elements and sharply rebuked Islamic ‘fanaticism’. He has insisted on the political overlordship of UMNO more forcefully than any previous administration, yet made it clear that non-Malays may work within the Barisan system securely and profitably. Mahathir will go to the brink in pursuit of his political goals, yet he has never actually plunged Malaysia into any of the impasses, ethnic or cultural, of which it could be capable.
Even so, there is a clear theme to Mahathir’s Prime Ministership – the centralisation of all significant power in the hands of the person who jointly heads UMNO and, as Prime Minister, the national government. Mahathir would argue that such concentration of power is necessary for social stability and economic development. Critics argue that he has unnecessarily diminished the democratic freedoms which Malaysia – unusually in its region – enjoyed. They also claim that the growth of government power has led to the abuse of power. Barisan government is continually dogged with rumours of corruption, though the rumours remain unproven.
Ironically, Mahathir’s major battles for control have concerned divisions within the Malay community, not inter-communal divisions. The opposition party DAP now commands a majority of Chinese votes but politically it is impotent except as a persistent but cautiously phrased critic of government. Mahathir’s biggest political challenge occurred in 1986–87 when elements of his own party UMNO rebelled against his leadership. Partly this was a matter of personalities and of discontent with Mahathir’s dominating style, but the revolt also signalled Malay alarm at the administration’s retreat from NEP’s ‘big government’ strategies. Mahathir retained the UMNO presidency by a mere 43 vote margin over his rival Tunku Razaleigh Hamzah (the voting was 761–718). After his victory Mahathir purged his cabinet. Razaleigh subsequently established a rival party for Malays, Semangat 46.
Political tension persisted and in October 1987 Mahathir clamped down, detaining 106 people including leading opposition personalities. Three newspapers were closed including the Star which carried a column by the first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman (who has since died) often critical of Mahathir government. Most of the detainees were released within weeks, Mahathir’s drastic action having subdued much of the political agitation.
Elements of the judiciary questioned the legal extent of the government’s powers of detention without trial. The detentions had been ordered under the ISA (Internal Security Act), a measure created by the British in Emergency days and originally intended for use against communists. In recent years the ISA has been used frequently to muffle debate when political feelings run high.
In response to the judiciary’s concerns many feel Mahathir arranged the suspension of the head of the judiciary, Mohamed Salleh Abbas, and subsequently the suspension of five of the Supreme Court judges listed to hear Salleh’s appeal against his suspension. Ever since, the Malaysian Bar Council has maintained a ‘boycott’ against the succeeding judiciary head, in protest at the perceived subordination of the law to the executive.
At the 1990 general election the breakaway Semangat 46 established links with DAP, PAS and other opposition parties, claiming that they were offering voters a credible alternative coalition government. In broad terms, however, the voters stayed with the status quo, doubting the opposition parties’ capacity to maintain stability. The opposition parties also suffered in the face of Barisan’s vastly superior financial resources and near monopoly of media information. Since his 1990 victory Mahathir has reigned securely, and political analysts expect him to carry elections for the foreseeable future. Other areas in which Mahathir has insisted on imposing his power include the promotion of Islam in Malaysia, the powers of Malaysian royalty, centre-state relationships, and UMNO’s choice of a potential successor.
From the 1960s Malaysian government has had to deal with increased levels of Muslim political assertiveness. The traditionally quiet religious culture of the Malays has been shaken by the dakwah (mission) movement and by the claims of the opposition party PAS that UMNO is insufficiently concerned with religious matters. The dual thrust of the dakwah movement has been to foster personal devoutness and to pressure Malaysian government to support a more Islamic society. The movement has been particularly identified with young, educated and politically aware Malays.
In response, Barisan government has demonstrated strong support for Islam in a range of ways. With government patronage Malaysia today is a much more insistently Islamic society than it was. But government activity in this area has also had a restraining dimension, aiming to bring Islamic enthusiasms under government oversight and regulation. During the 1980s several legislative measures tightened government powers over religious organisations and their teaching. On occasion the government has resorted to its tough detention and censorship powers to silence persons considered a threat to social order on religious grounds. As well, government has used all its political skills and media control to diminish the credibility of PAS in Malay eyes. However PAS survives strongly in the northeastern Peninsular states of Kelantan and Trengganu and can score around 20 per cent of the vote in national elections.
The government has also removed the powers of the Malaysian king to veto legislation, and minimised royal power to delay legislation. He has also cut the powers and privileges of the country’s nine royal state rulers, following an orchestrated media campaign in 1993 which alleged the contempt of some rulers for the law, their questionable business dealings and extravagant lifestyles. Once held up as the symbols of historic Malay culture the rulers were pilloried as ‘feudal relics’, at odds with the contemporary business and technology-oriented Malay. The Malaysian Bar Council’s view was that the executive’s reduction of the rulers’ powers was a further attack on constitutional democracy in Malaysia.
Mahathir has always given frank expression to his hostility towards Malaysian states which defy Barisan government and elect opposition state governments. Kelantan is currently the object of his displeasure for its Pas-controlled government. In March 1994 Mahathir scored a victory, however, when Barisan dislodged from government in Sabah the opposition United Sabah Party (PBS).
In contrast to Sarawak, which since the 1960s has experienced Alliance/Barisan government under Malay leadership, Sabah has had difficulty in conforming to national political norms. Multiracial Sabah has tended to reject attempts to divide it politically along communal lines, and also resented federal domination of its affairs. PBS is led and basically supported by the mainly Christian Kadazan-Dusun peoples of Sabah (around 40 per cent of the state’s population) but has appealed to many voters from other communities. In 1991 UMNO established a branch in Sabah and set about organising a Barisan-style coalition of parties opposed to PBS. In the March 1994 election PBS won a two-seat majority, but was subsequently forced to give up its claim to government when several PBS members were induced to defect to Barisan. Once again UMNO’s financial resources and political clout carried the day.
Mahathir will only turn 70 in 1995, and looks set to establish a record term for a Malaysian prime minister. UMNO has been considering the succession nevertheless, precipitating sharp competition between possible candidates, but at party elections in late 1993 Mahathir’s preferred choice of heir, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, easily carried the day.


Tunku Abdul Rahman 1988 - "Biarlah Saya Mati Dalam Perjuangan"


Tunku Abdul Rahman 1988 - "Biarlah Saya Mati Dalam Perjuangan"

Tunku Abdul Rahman 1988 - "Biarlah Saya Mati Dalam Perjuangan"


Tunku Abdul Rahman 1988 - "Biarlah Saya Mati Dalam Perjuangan"

Tunku Abdul Rahman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
PMs of Malaysia - Tunku Abdul Rahman
Tunku Abdul Rahman"Right from the moment when I became Prime Minister, my aim, my thinking, my planning and as a matter of fact my whole heart was set on building up a prosperous and happy Malayan society."
Tunku Abdul Rahman


Remembered as the "Father of Independence", Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, had recognised the vital importance of fostering cooperation among Malaysia’s various ethnic groups as a way to overcome political problems. It was also Tunku who envisioned the idea of Malaysia - a federation of Malaya, Singapore (which later seceded in 1965), Sabah and Sarawak which was established in 1963. Tunku is also recognised for his elevation of Islam to the status of official religion and he was instrumental in the setting up of the Organisation of Islamic Conference in 1969, of which he was the first Secretary-General. Perhaps Tunku Abdul Rahman’s greatest single achievement was in giving Malaysians a sense of pride and nationhood.
PMs of Malaysia - Tunku Abdul Rahman
Tunku Abdul Rahman"Right from the moment when I became Prime Minister, my aim, my thinking, my planning and as a matter of fact my whole heart was set on building up a prosperous and happy Malayan society."
Tunku Abdul Rahman


Remembered as the "Father of Independence", Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, had recognised the vital importance of fostering cooperation among Malaysia’s various ethnic groups as a way to overcome political problems. It was also Tunku who envisioned the idea of Malaysia - a federation of Malaya, Singapore (which later seceded in 1965), Sabah and Sarawak which was established in 1963. Tunku is also recognised for his elevation of Islam to the status of official religion and he was instrumental in the setting up of the Organisation of Islamic Conference in 1969, of which he was the first Secretary-General. Perhaps Tunku Abdul Rahman’s greatest single achievement was in giving Malaysians a sense of pride and nationhood.
PMs of Malaysia - Tunku Abdul Rahman
Tunku Abdul Rahman"Right from the moment when I became Prime Minister, my aim, my thinking, my planning and as a matter of fact my whole heart was set on building up a prosperous and happy Malayan society."
Tunku Abdul Rahman


"Right from the moment when I became Prime Minister, my aim, my thinking, my planning and as a matter of fact my whole heart was set on building up a prosperous and happy Malayan society."
Tunku Abdul Rahman


Remembered as the "Father of Independence", Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, had recognised the vital importance of fostering cooperation among Malaysia’s various ethnic groups as a way to overcome political problems. It was also Tunku who envisioned the idea of Malaysia - a federation of Malaya, Singapore (which later seceded in 1965), Sabah and Sarawak which was established in 1963. Tunku is also recognised for his elevation of Islam to the status of official religion and he was instrumental in the setting up of the Organisation of Islamic Conference in 1969, of which he was the first Secretary-General. Perhaps Tunku Abdul Rahman’s greatest single achievement was in giving Malaysians a sense of pride and nationhood.

Tunku Abdul Rahman 1988 - "Biarlah Saya Mati Dalam Perjuangan"

Tunku Abdul Rahman 1988 - "Biarlah Saya Mati Dalam Perjuangan"

Tunku Abdul Rahman 1988 - "Biarlah Saya Mati Dalam Perjuangan"



Mahathir was continually upset with the Judiciary because the verdicts in a number of cases went against the Government. According to Deputy  PM, Datuk Musa Hitam, one
of  his favourite slogans was "Hang the Lawyers! Hang the Judges!" From 1987, he intensified his verbal attacks against the Judiciary in the news media, making damaging statements which clearly demonstrated that he did not understand the role of the Judiciary as being independent from the Executive and Legislative arms of Government. That the Judiciary exists as a check-and-balance against the excesses of the Executive appeared to have been a concept he never fully grasped. Instead, he accused judges of the sort of political interference that would result in confusion and loss of public confidence in the Government. Hence, to curtail the powers of the Judiciary and subsume it beneath the Executive became one of his cherished dreams.

In April 1987, after an UMNO leadership contest in which Mahathir very nearly lost to Finance Minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, there were allegations that several delegates who had voted were drawn from branches not properly registered under the Societies Act 1966. An appeal was filed by eleven UMNO delegates to have the elections declared null and void. This was a very serious matter for Mahathir because if the appeal succeeded, fresh elections would have to be held and he might lose. The matter finally came before Justice Harun Hashim of KL High Court who ruled that under the existing law, he had no choice but to declare not just the elections invalid, but the whole of UMNO an
unlawful society as well. The country and, more particularly, UMNO, went into a state of shock.

In most modern democracies, a political catastrophe of this magnitude would have result in the immediate resignation of the party's President and Prime Minister. But Mahathir did not resign. He informed the country that the Government would continue running the country. Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang and Tunku Abdul Rahman called for a vote in
Parliament to establish Mahathir's legitimacy but those calls were ignored. Mahathir then set in motion the machinery to form a new surrogate party called UMNO Baru. His opponents, however, wanted the old party revived. The eleven UMNO delegates then launched an appeal in the Supreme Court to have the 1987 elections alone declared illegal and the party not an unlawful society.

Mahathir fully understood the danger to him of this pending appeal. He had to act quickly. In October 1987, he launched the notorious Operation Lalang in which at least 106 people were arrested and detained without trial under the ISA, including three very articulate critics, the Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang, political scientist Dr. Chandra Muzaffar and leading lawyer Karpal Singh. The official reason for the arrests was that a highly dangerous security situation had arisen but this has been strongly disputed as nothing more than a shameless fabrication. The broad sweep included even environmentalists and Consumer Association spokesmen. Four of the most outspoken newspapers -The Star, The Sunday Star, Watan and Sin Chew Jit Poh - had their publishing licences suspended. When, after five months, the papers were free to publish again, they were no longer the same.

Mahathir's next move was to push through Parliament far-reaching amendments to the Constitution so that the Executive gained in power enormously at the expense of the Judiciary. There was general indignation at this rude behaviour which shocked a good many people. The indecent haste and the fact that the amendments were made at a time when the Government's main critics were in detention, including the Opposition Leader and six vocal MPs and outspoken newspapers demoralized added further to the appalling injustice of the situation. Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia's beloved first Prime Minister, put it succinctly: "It was legal, but was it just?" Others noted angrily that the Constitution had been raped once again. In a speech, the outgoing President of the Bar Council, Param Cumaraswamy, said:

"The Prime Ministe's vile and contemptuous allegations, and the accusations levelled at the Judiciary and our judges left many shocked beyond belief. His speech which was full of venom, hate and spite with no substance whatsoever, illustrated his complete and total ignorance of the role of the Judiciary and the judicial process itself. He has indeed defiled and defaced the Constitution. It is surprising that those 142 MPs who voted in favour, after taking the oath that they would preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, had no compunction about destroying one of its basic structures."

One visiting parliamentarian was astonished at the lack of public debate. In his own country, he said, such amendments would have taken years.

Next, after having curbed the independence of the Judiciary, Mahathir set about destroying its integrity. This was the removal of Tun Salleh Abas as Lord President in 1988, a move which Tunku Abdul Rahman described as "the most shocking story in modern legal and judicial history,"


Tun Salleh Abas was a man of humble origins - his father was a sailor and small village trader - who rose to become Lord President, the highest judge in the land and head of the Judiciary while remaining a deeply religious man.

By March 1988, Mahathir's scandalous and violent public attacks on the Judiciary had so provoked the judges that Tun Salleh was obliged to call a conference. Twenty judges met in the Supreme Court one week after the debilitating and shameful Constitutional amendments were made. By unanimous agreement, a letter was drafted to the King (also the Sultan of Johore) and copied to all Sultans, expressing disquiet over various comments made by the Prime Minister. The letter was delivered on 25 March and Tun Salleh left soon after for medical treatment in the United States followed by a pilgrimage to Mecca. He had a most important duty to perform upon his return: he fixed the hearing of the crucial UMNO Eleven appeal for June and, because of its overwhelming significance,
decided that a full coram of nine Supreme Court judges should hear this. Three days later, Tun Salleh was suspended from his official capacity by the King on recommendation of the Prime Minister. In the same hour that he received the suspension letter, the Acting Lord President, Tan Sri Abdul Hamid took the UMNO Eleven case out of the calendar so that the link between the two was difficult to deny.

Tun Salleh's suspension came after he refused to bow to Mahathir's pressure to either resign or retire, even though financial inducements were offered, including mention of a lucrative job in the International Development Bank in Jeddah. The initial reason given for the suspension was that the King had taken great displeasure over the letter Tun Salleh
had written on behalf of all judges. According to official records prepared by the Attorney General, the King had requested Tun Salleh's removal in an audience with the Prime Minister on the "Wednesday morning of 1 May 1988" after the weekly Cabinet Meeting.

There are serious doubts as to whether this audience actually took place. The first of May 1988 fell on a Sunday, not Wednesday as the Attorney General recorded. Even if the day of week were corrected, there can be no Cabinet meeting on a Sunday. That the King expressed great displeasure only on 1 May, when he had in fact received the letter on 25
March cast further doubt over this assertion. It is difficult to believe that the King wanted Tun Salleh removed purely because he had protested about the public insults directed against the entire Judiciary by the head of the Executive. In any event, royal displeasure would not be a constitutionally valid ground for dismissal. Indeed, Mahathir advised
the King as much in a letter written four days after this probably fictitious audience; however, the Prime Minister went further in the same letter to say that he would investigate Tun Salleh for any evidence of misbehaviour. In any event, the King did not clear up the mystery and, in an audience with Tun Salleh, actually asked the latter to step down without giving reasons although the Conference of Rulers had already asked for his reinstatement. Amazingly, Tun Salleh was suspended and a Tribunal set up to determine his fate before any formal charges were laid.

The Constitution does not provide for the removal of a Lord President. While the Tribunal need not be an inappropriate means, its composition was to say the least, disgraceful. It was composed of six acting and retired judges, although the Constitution required an odd number to prevent deadlock. Of these -four from Malaysia, one from Sri Lanka and one from Singapore -only the Sri Lankan enjoyed a rank comparable to Tun Salleh's. This was contrary to the very reasonable dictum that one should be tried by one's peers rather than one's juniors. The fact that two retired Lord Presidents of Malaysia were available but not invited was glaring. There were grave conflicts of interest with three of the Malaysian judges that should have disqualified them from sitting: Tan Sri Abdul Hamid who was next in line to succeed as Lord President and who had also participated in the conference of 20 judges which resulted in the letter to the King; Tan Sri Zahir who, being also the Speaker of the Lower House, was beholden to Mahathir, the principal complainant in
the matter at hand; and Tan Sri Abdul Aziz who, although a former judge, was then a practising lawyer and, more incredibly, had two suits pending against him at that time. But Tun Salleh's objections were ignored and when the Bar Council issued a statement calling for the Tribunal to be re-constituted, both the New Straits Times and The Star refused to
publish it. Further, it was decided that the Tribunal would sit in closed sessions although Tun Salleh had requested a public hearing.

The charges, when finally published, were manifestly absurd. Running over 12 sheets of paper, it was clear that quantity had been substituted where quality was lacking, and some of them actually related to Tun Salleh's behaviour after suspension. Many of them related to his speeches and press interviews, whereby sinister meanings were imputed to various innocuous comments that he had made. To cite an instance, in a speech at the University of Malaya, he had said: "The role of the courts is very important to bring about public order. If there is no public order there will be chaos in this country and if there is chaos, no one can feel safe" On this basis, Tun Salleh was charged with making statements criticizing the Government which displayed prejudice and bias against the latter. Another statement of his, "In a democratic system, the courts play a prominent role as agent of stability but they can perform this function only if judges are trusted," resulted in the charge that he had ridiculed the Government by imputing that it did not trust the judges. These charges were doubly ludicrous in the light of Mahathir's many poisonous attacks against the Judiciary.

It is not surprising that Tun Salleh, after reading this catalogue of fantasy crimes, refused to appear before what was so evidently a kangaroo court. The Tribunal, after refusing representations made by Raja Aziz, Tun Salleh's leading counsel, that it had no constitutional validity to sit, chose instead to proceed so hastily that it wound up deliberations, including the examination of witnesses with just four hours work. As it prepared to issue its Report, Tun Salleh's lawyers sought an urgent stay of proceedings in the High Court. This would normally be granted immediately at the least possibility that an
injustice may be about to be done but, here, events turned into utter farce.

Instead of immediately reaching a decision as expected, the presiding judge, Datuk Ajaib Singh, after the court had been in languorous session the whole day that Friday, adjourned hearings for 9.30 am the next day. On Saturday however, the judge emerged in court only at 11.50 am and, even then, postponed hearings again for the Monday! In desperation, Tun Salleh's lawyers, knowing that the Tribunal could easily release its Report before then, sought the assistance of Supreme Court judge, Tan Sri Wan Suleiman, in his Chambers. The latter agreed to hear them in open court in half an hour's time and called a coram of all remaining Supreme Court, one of whom, Tan Sri Hashim Yeop, refused to sit. The soap opera reached an apogee of ridiculousness when Tan Sri Abdul Hamid, head of the Tribunal and Acting Lord President, gave orders for the doors of Supreme Court to be locked and for the seal of the Supreme Court to be secreted away!

Undeterred, the five Supreme Court judges ordered the policeman on duty to open the door forthwith. After less than half an hour, the Court ordered the Tribunal not to submit any recommendation, report or advice to the King. Tun Salleh's lawyers were typing the Order to serve personally to the Tribunal at Parliament House when news arrived that the gates of Parliament House had been locked! At this point, Justice Wan Suleiman rose to the occasion and, calling the office of the Inspector General of Police, told a senior officer that any impediment to serving the Order would constitute contempt of court. The gates of
Parliament swung open and, at 4 pm, Raja Aziz and his team served the Order to the Tribunal members who were found to be still hard at work on a word-processor that Saturday afternoon. All six members accepted service without complaint.

It would appear that justice had at last prevailed but, four days later, all five Supreme Court judges were suspended. Almost every rule that was broken to suspend Tun Salleh was broken again to suspend them. The prohibition order they had made were revoked within days. A second Tribunal eventually reinstated three of the judge: Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, Tan Sri Eusoff Abdoolcader and Tan Sri Wan Hamzah but Tan Sri Wan Suleiman and Datuk George Edward Seah were removed from office.

The UMNO Eleven case was quickly dismissed. The removal of Tun Salleh also saw the resignation of Deputy PM Datuk Musa Hitam who, according to popular wisdom, could no longer stomach Mahathir's ways.

The facts in this summary are derived from the book "May Day for Justice" by Tun Salleh Abas with K. Das, Magnus Book Kuala Lumpur, 1989

Malaysia's previous Prime Ministers were all lawyers but 1 Medical Doctor screwed-up the nation BIG-TIME!


Foreword to May Day For Justice by Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, The First Prime Minister Of Malaysia

This book tells the most shocking story in modern legal and judicial history.
As one of the architects of the Malaysian Constitution, I must say it never occurred to the Constitutional Commission headed by Lord Scott Reid, that the day would come when the Head of the Judiciary, the Lord President, would be faced with charges of conduct unbecoming of a judge.
There are special provisions in the Constitution for removing judges from office, but there is no specific provision in the Constitution for the removal of a Lord President himself. The thought was and is repugnant to any man of the law.
Yet today we are lumbered with a judiciary of the most extraordinary character, created as a direct result of the disaster which overtook the Most Honourable Justice Tun Mohamed Salleh bin Abas, Lord President of the Courts of Malaysia, who was accused of misbehaving himself, and removed.
A man does not climb that long ladder to the pinnacle of our judicial system without proving himself every inch of the way to be upright, and extremely fastidious about his honour. His integrity must have been proven again and again in his judicial actions, his private life and all his work in the public domain. Any man who was any less than that could not have even approached that position which, by its very nature, presupposes character of the greatest probity and rectitude. The very act of appointing such a man means that he is beyond reproach.
Yet, exactly such a man was accused of misbehaviour as a judge! He was publicly humiliated and then removed from his post on what I can only describe as trumped-up charges.
Tun Mohamed Salleh Abas, a man of humble origins - his father was a sailor and small village trader - rose to become the highest judge in the land through sheer hard work, a proven dedication to service and a great love for the law. He is also known to be a scholarly man, and a deeply religious Muslim.
I will not try to tell his story even in summary because this volume tells it all clearly and as truthfully as it is possible without breaking the laws covering official secrets, sedition and libel - though the disgraceful events surrounding his dismissal invited comments which courted all these dangers.
That the Lord President was wronged was obvious not only to the intellectuals in the country and many countries abroad but also to the average man in Malaysia. I myself repeatedly objected to the action against the Lord President and the way the Tribunal to remove him was conducted. There were a great many protests by many learned men and women against the action by the Government, but these were ignored by the authorities as well as the frightened press and mass media.
The world, nevertheless, found out what was going on. Condemnation of the affair from across the world made shameful reading. But I must say that the enormity of the travesty of justice perpetrated in order to remove Tun Salleh (and two other Supreme Court Judges) is disclosed in these pages in such detail, with such penetrating insights, that it will surely further shock and scandalize the civilised world.
Episode after episode in the book shows the spiritual corruption, the cynicism, the moral turpitude, the viciousness and the horrible ruthlessness which attended the exercise of falsely accusing him, hastily putting him before a Tribunal of questionable character and quickly removing him from office.
I do not know how any honourable government can stay in office after this book has been published. It constitutes a denunciation which cannot be answered without confessing to the most dishonourable conduct in public life.
In my time I participated in and witnessed a great many dramatic events in the national life. There were great days and there were tragic ones, there were days of high euphoria and days of great sorrow, there were days to be proud of and some days to be ashamed of. But nothing that happened in all those years from 1955 to 1970 when I headed the Government, or in the days of Tun Abdul Razak who succeeded me and later in the years of Tun Hussein Onn, nothing occurred in all those years that so sullied the fair name of this country so completely as this sordid affair: it struck a terrible blow, not only to the independence of the Malaysian Judiciary - and ruined the careers of at least three honourable men - but to national pride itself. This affair has disillusioned and demoralised many lawyers. It has severely damaged the people's faith in the law and brought several judges into disrepute. It will take a long time for us to recover from the horror and shame of this episode.
Our judges are the guardians of the Constitution and thus our democratic system of Government. When they lose their independence our precious freedoms are at once threatened. And our judges were indeed deprived of their independence in the year 1988. We are therefore in grave danger today.
We must take care not to allow the mere appearance of security to lull us into believing that because there appears to be no immediate physical danger, all is well. it is not true. As the Malay people say, "Apabila air tenang, jangan disangka tiada buaya " (Because the water is still, do not think there are no crocodiles below.)
It was not always like this.
Our independence started off very well because of our fairness, our integrity and our honesty. We take pride in the fact that we were the only country in Southeast Asia which won the battle against the communists fairly and squarely. We beat President Sukarno of Indonesia in his plan to "Crush Malaysia" and we kept the Philippines from pursuing their claim to Sabah. We established ASEAN as an organisation and brought better understanding not only among these peoples of Southeast Asia but also among other countries.We even helped President Ngo Dinh Diem keep the communists out of Vietnam and develop Vietnam on the same basis as we had developed Malaysia. (But the Americans took up the fight and changed tactics, and the Vietnam war ended tragically).
Times have changed.
This terrible episode of sacking the Lord President should.serve as a lesson to the people of Malaysia as well as to people in many developing countries where judicial independence is seen by those who wield power only as an inconvenience and a threat to what they arrogantly believe is their God-given right to do as they please.
The way I look at it, they have have made a martyr of Tun Salleh and he deserves to be honoured and respected as such. What happened to him may prevent others in this country from suffering the same fate.
What is written in this book will be a lesson to young Malaysians who have a long way to go. Let us try do what is right for the future generations. I sincerely hope this story is widely read and always remembered by the people.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, 1989

Tunku Abdul Rahman 1988 - "Biarlah Saya Mati Dalam Perjuangan"


This website is dedicated to the cause of the former Chief Justice and Lord President of the Supreme Court of Malaysia, Tun Salleh Abas - a true 'hakim rakyat'
“ pleas, as we all know, fell on deaf the end, justice is not done because you have a better pleader or a better judge. Justice is not even done because you have better laws. These things are undoubtedly important.”
“But far more important than any of these is that society as a whole believes passionately that every human being deserves to be treated justly..."
".. that when one human being is manifestly denied justice, then we are in real danger of being denied it.”
“And justice cannot be done hastily. And justice cannot be done in the dark.”
“It has to be done with due deliberation, in full view of the people in whose name it is done. For it is done for them.”

Tun Salleh Abas (from the book with K Das "May Day For Justice")

May Day For Justice May Day For Justice

The Removal of Tun Salleh Abas: A Summary

Forward by Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj

Foreword By Tun Salleh Abas - Mayday For Justice

Lord President of the Supreme Court

Salleh Abas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1988 Malaysian constitutional crisis

Mahathir Mohamad

Thursday, 08 March 2012 09:50

The May 13 riots: Mahathir's open letter to Tunku Abdul Rahman

Written by  Tulang Besi
Batu 6, Titi Gajah,
Alor Star,
17hb. Jun 1969
Y.T.M. Tunku,
I am deeply saddened because my intention in making a press statement was misunderstood by you. In fact, my intention is the same as yours, to save this country from harm that threatens it.
Your opinions are based on stories that were told to you by the people around you,who will only tell you things that they felt you like or should know. Let me tell you matters that concern the situation, opinion and ideas of the public so as to give you a better understanding on why I made that statement.
It was you yourself who told me that in order to avoid riots, you stopped the execution of 11 Chinese subversives. In fact your action in stopping the execution caused the riots and multiple deaths that have occurred since May 13.
You always “give and take”, that is to give the Chinese what they want. This was the reason for stopping the execution. This also caused the rise of anger among the Malays.
The Chinese labelled you and the Perikatan government as cowards and weak, which can be pushed around. That is the reason why the Chinese are not afraid to deny Perikatan, and the Malays do not want Perikatan anymore. That is why the Chinese and Indians were rude to the Malays on May 12. If you have been spat at in the face or been humiliated, then maybe you understand how the Malays feel.
The Malays whom you think will never revolt now have become mad and run amok , to the extent of losing their own lives and killing those that they hate because you accidentally gave face. The responsibility of the deaths, Muslim and non-Muslims, must be placed on the shoulder of the leader who made the wrong stand.
I apologize but I wanted to tell you the feelings of the Malays. In fact, the Malays now, be it PAS or UMNO, really hate you especially those who were humiliated by the Chinese, and those who lost their homes, families, children and relatives because of your give-and-take policy.
They said that you just wanted to be known as the Happy Prime minister despite the fact that the people are suffering.They know that even during the Emergency, you were still engrossed in poker games with your Chinese friends. The policemen told of how you used their cars and escorts to look for poker partners.
On the contrary, the Chinese have no respect for you.They said you are naïve and of no calibre. There is more of what they said but I cannot say it here. These words came from Chinese from all walks of life, from intellectuals and also the rickshaw man.
Lately, some development has arisen. The Malays in civil service, from Permanent Secretary and below, army officers and policemen have lost trust and respect in you. I knew that most of them supported PAS through postal votes. Officers from the police and army still follow orders at the moment since the orders are in line with their wishes.If you ever do anything that they do not want you to, I believe they will not obey your words anymore.
I know that you are afraid that the Communists will take advantage of the unstable situation in the country. I am more afraid if Government starts to lose control over the armed forces. Once this happens, thing will never be the same again. The civil government then must follow orders from the military. Your title may be Happy Prime Minister, but those who replace you will not feel any happiness at all.
I hope that you will not lie to yourself that one day people will be grateful with what you are doing now. It can never be that only one person is correct and the rest of us are wrong. I want to tell you the opinion of the people that it is about time for you to step down as PM and UMNO chief.
I understand the power that you have and I remember what happened to Aziz Ishak. But I cannot call myself a responsible person if I did not clarify what I meant. If I were to be imprisoned, I will still uphold what I needed to say.
I was told that you called me a Pakistani. I didn’t believe what people said because I know you would never say such thing. I always defended you when PAS said you were Siamese, had no rights to lead the Malays. So, will you also defend me even if there is Pakistani blood in my body.
I wish to reiterate that the statement I made was to prevent the incidents that will increase animosity and hatred among the Malays towards the Government and encouraging the Chinese to further humiliate the pride of the Malays. Bigger riots can take place if this is not controlled. Even the army might not be able to control it. And further more, if TH Tan and the Chinese Chambers can issue a statement, why can't UMNO leaders?
I wrote this in sincerity and that hope that you will read this letter yourself. I pray to Allah to open your heart to accept the actual facts even though the facts are bitter.
Yours sincerely
(Dr Mahather bin Muhammad)

Malaysia Chronicle prints the above article in good faith for readers to gauge for themselves the veracity and truth of the document. It is taken from the Malaysia Waves blog and the original text is in Malay.

Peristiwa 13 Mei - Surat Dr Mahathir pada Tunku Abdul Rahman

NOTA EDITOR: Dari surat Dr Mahathir kepada Tunku ini, jelas yang dipersalahkan oleh Dr Mahathir kerana terjadinya 13 Mei adalah Tunku Abdul Rahman sendiri. Jadi, hairan saya kenapa Berahim PERKASA nak salahkan orang Cina pula. Selamat membaca.

Bila baca surat ni teringat saya minit-minit mesyuarat Agung PAS yang arwah bapa saya simpan dari tahun 60an dan 70an. Ejaan dan jalan bahasanya adalah serupa.
Surat Terbuka Dr Mahathir kepada PM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra
bertarikh 17 Jun 1969

Batu 6, Titi Gajah,
Alor Star,
17hb. Jun 1969

Y.T.M. Tunku,

Patek berasa dukachita kerana tujuan patek membuat kenyataan kepada akhbar telah di-salah faham oleh Y.T.M. Tunku. Sa-benar-nya tujuan patek sama-lah juga dengan tujuan Tunku, ia-itu untok menyelamatkan negara ini daripada bahaya yang menganchamkan-nya.

Pendapat-pendapat Tunku berasaskan kepada cherita-cherita yang di-bawa kepada telinga Tunku oleh orang-orang yang mengelilingi Tunku yang chuma suka mencherita kepada Tunku perkara2 yang mereka fikir Tunku suka atau patut dengar sahaja. Benarkan-lah patek bercherita berkenaan dengan keadaan, fikiran dan pendapat2 rakyat yang sa-benar-nya supaya Tunku dapat faham tujuan patek membuat kenyataan yang di-tegor itu.

Tunku biasa cherita kepada patek sendiri ia-itu Tunku mengelakkan rusohan dengan menahan hukum bunoh yang di-jatohkan kepada 11 orang subversif China. Sabenar-nya tindakan Tunku ini-lah yang mengakibatkan rusohan dan kematian yang berpuloh kali banyak yang terjadi semenjak 13 Mei.

Tunku selalu "bertolak-ansor," ia-itu memberi kepada orang2 China apa yang mereka tuntut. Punchak tolak-ansur ini ia-lah pembatalan hukum bunoh tadi. Pembatalan ini menimbulkan kemarahan yang besar oleh orang2 Melayu.

Orang2 China pula menganggap Tunku dan Kerajaan Perikatan sebagai pengechut dan lemah dan boleh di-tolak ke-sana ke-mari. Sebab itu orang2 China tidak takut lagi menolak Perikatan dan orang2 Melayu pula tidak ingin kepada Perikatan. Sebab itu orang2 China dan India membuat kurang ajar pada 12 Mei kepada orang Melayu. Kalau Tunku biasa di-ludah di-muka, di-maki dan di-tunjok kemaluan, boleh-lah Tunku faham perasaan orang Melayu.

Orang2 Melayu yang Tunku fikir tidak memberontak telah-pun menjadi gila dan mengamok sehingga mengorbankan nyawa mereka dan membunoh orang yang mereka benchi kerana Tunku terlangsong bagi muka. Tanggong-jawab tentang mati-nya orang2 ini, Islam dan kafir, terpaksa di-letak di-atas bahu pemimpin yang salah pendapat.

Patek mohon ma’af tetapi patek ingin sampaikan perasaan orang-orang Melayu kepada Y.T.M. Tunku. Sabenar-nya, orang2 Melayu sekarang, baik PAS baik Umno, betul2 benchi pada Tunku, terutama orang2 yang di-hina-kan oleh orang China dan yang kehilangan rumah-tangga, anak-pinak, saudara-mara kerana tolak ansur Tunku.

Mereka kata Tunku chuma ingin di-kenal-kan sebagai "The Happy Prime Minister" walau-pun ra’ayat menderita. Mereka tahu bahawa dalam keadaan dharurat-pun Tunku ashek bermain poker dengan kawan2 China Tunku. Budak2 polis mencherita yang Tunku mengguna-kan kenderaan dan eskot Polis untuk menchari kaki poker.

Sa-balek-nya pula orang2 China tidak ada sedikit-pun hormat kepada Tunku. Mereka berkata Tunku "naïve" dan tidak ada kaliber. Ada lagi yang mereka kata yang tak dapat patek sebut-kan. Kata2 itu datang dari semua golongan orang China, dari intelek sa-hinggga China becha.

Pada masa lewat2 ini lagi satu kesan burok telah timbul. Orang2 Melayu dalam Civil Servis, dari Perm. Sec. ka-bawah, pegawai2 tentera dan polis Melayu tidak ada lagi kepercayaan dan respect kepada Tunku. Patek tahu kebanyakan mereka sokong PAS dalam undi pos. Pegawai Melayu dari
Polis, tentera dan askar biasa maseh patoh kepada kerajaan oleh kerana arahan sekarang sesuai dengan kehendak mereka sendiri. Kalau Tunku membuat apa2 yang tidak di-ingini oleh mereka, patek perchaya mereka tidak akan menurut kata Tunku.

Patek tahu Tunku takut kominis mengambil kesempatan kalau timbul kekachauan dalam negeri. Patek lebih takut kalau kerajaan mula "lose control over the armed forces". Sa-kali ini terjadi, keadaan tidak akan puleh semula. Sampai bila-pun kerajaan civil mesti tundok kepada tentera. Tunku biasa jadi "Happy Prime Minister" tetapi orang yang akan turut ganti tak akan merasai "happiness" apa2.

Patek harap Y.T.M. Tunku jangan-lah menipu diri dengan berkata "satu hari mereka akan bershukor dengan perbuatan saya". Ta’akan yang sa-orang itu selalu betul dan yang banyak selalu salah. Patek ingin sampaikan kepada Tunku fikiran ra’ayat yang sa-benar, ia-itu masa telah lampau untuk Tunku bersara dari menjadi perdana menteri dan Ketua Umno.

Patek faham betul2 kuasa yang ada pada Tunku dan patek masih ingat nasib Aziz Ishak. Tapi patek tak akan jadi sa-orang yang bertanggong-jawab kalau patek tidak terangkan apa yang patek sebut-kan. Kalau di-penjara sa-kali-pun patek terpaksa kata apa yang patek telah kata-kan.

Patek di-beritahu ia-itu Tunku berkata patek Pakistani. Patek tidak perchaya kata2 orang kerana patek tahu Y.T.M. Tunku tidak akan berkata begitu. Patek-lah yang selalu mempertahan-kan Tunku apabila orang2 PAS kata yang Tunku anak Siam yang ta’ berhak memimpin orang Melayu. Jadi Tunku juga akan mempertahan-kan patek walau-pun maseh ada dua sudu darah Pakistani dalam tubuh badan patek.

Patek sa-kali lagi mengulangkan ia-itu kenyataan yang patek buat itu ia-lah menchegah kejadian yang akan menambah perasaan benchi orang2 Melayu terhadap kerajaan dan menggalak-kan orang2 China menjatohkan lagi maruah orang2 Melayu. Rusohan yang lebeh besar akan berlaku jika ini di-
biarkan. Tentera sendiri tidak akan dapat di-kawal. Dan lagi kalau T.H. Tan dan dewan orang China boleh membuat kenyataan, kenapa ketua2 Umno tidak boleh?

Patek menulis surat ini dengan hati yang ikhlas dan harapan bahawa Y.T.M. Tunku akan bacha surat ini dengan sa-penoh-nya sendiri. Patek berdo’a ke-hadhrat Allah subhanahuwataala supaya di-buka hati Tunku untok menerima kenyataan yang sa-benar ini walau-pun pahit dan pedas.

Patek Yang Ikhlas,

(Dr. Mahather bin Muhammad)

Tun Dr Mahathir: The Tun Salleh Saga

President of American Bar Letter to Mahathir

Tunku Abdul Rahman 1988 - "Biarlah Saya Mati Dalam Perjuangan"

Dr. Mahathir, chedet , June 06 2008

1. When the Government gave ex-gratia payments to the judges involved in the Tun Salleh Abas removal as the Lord President of Malaysian courts, the question that needs to be answered is whether it is because of Government regrets over something that happened not during the period this Government was in power or is it because of a desperate attempt to win support after the disastrous results of the election of 2008.

2. Had the present Government felt regret, it should have paid ex-gratia payment (for want of a better term) upon achieving power. But obviously it only felt regret lately, after its brand new de facto Minister of Law, who incidentally was suspended for money politics, suggested the move in order to win the approval of the Bar Council.

3. But what was at the back of this political feeling of guilt by this Government. Was it because of the injustice done? Or was something unfair and unlawful committed by the previous Government.

4. Most people know about Tun Salleh’s dismissal but few care to find out what really happened. Some believe that the action against Tun Salleh was because he had proposed a panel of 12 judges to hear the appeal against Judge Harun Hashim’s findings that UMNO was an illegal organisation. Others believe it was because he was biased against UMNO in his judgements.

5. None of these is true. Tun Salleh had not been biased against the Government. He dismissed the application by Lim Kit Siang in the case involving UEM and the Government, for an interim injunction made by a lower court in a lengthy judgement made by him as President of the Supreme Court. In numerous other cases his judgement favoured the Government. As to the panel to hear the appeal against Judge Harun Hashim’s findings, a bigger panel could actually be good for UMNO, which wanted nothing more than the validation of the election results making me President and Ghafar Baba Deputy President. Whether the panel rejects or approves Judge Harun’s decision, UMNO and UMNO Baru would not be affected.

6. The truth is that the case against Tun Salleh was triggered by his letters to the Yang di Pertuan Agong which were considered by the Agong as being highly improper and insulting to him.

7. In his first letter Tun Salleh had written to DYMM YDP Agong complaining about the noise made during some repair work at the Agong’s palace near Salleh’s house.

8. This alone can be considered as very improper. A man as senior as he was could have asked to see the Agong and verbally informed him about the noise.

9. But to compound the act of les majesté he sent copies of his letter to the other rulers. This implied that he did not have faith in the Agong and wanted the other Rulers to apply pressure on him.

10. This was followed by another letter to DYMM YDP Agong complaining about the behaviour of the executive i.e. the Prime Minister. Copies of this letter were also sent to the other Rulers.

11. In this letter Tun Salleh said inter alia, “All of us (the judges) are disappointed with the various comments and accusations made by the Prime Minister against the judiciary not only outside but inside Parliament.”

12. He went on to say in his letter “the accusations and comments have brought shame to all of us and left us mentally disturbed to the extent of being unable to discharge our functions orderly and properly.”

13. He asserted that he and all the judges “do not like to reply to the accusations publicly because such action is not compatible with our position as judges under the Constitution …. And as such it is only proper for us to be patient in the interest of the nation.”

14. This statement was obviously untrue as before the letter was sent, in a speech at the University of Malaya when he was receiving his honorary doctorate, he complained about “the judiciary being placed in the social service category” inferring that this was not in keeping with “the rule of law” and that the “priority of the courts should be altered so that freedom is guaranteed and work is not disturbed.”

15. He went on to say “the officers of the public service (i.e. judges) do not have a lesser role and function to play then the roles played by the politicians.”

16. Further he said, “This matter becomes aggravated if the rights involved in a decision made by an official are related to judicial matters because this will result in a very important question that is interference with the independence of the judiciary.”

17. Again when making a speech at the launching of a book “Law, Justice and the Judiciary, Transnational Trends” Tun Salleh had said, among other things, “The vital constitutional principle is so settled that no question should really arise concerning the position of the judiciary under the Constitution. But recently this guardianship has been made an issue and our independence appears to be under some kind of threat.” He added, “This is amply borne out by some of the comments made recently which embarrassed the judiciary a great deal. These remarks not only question our neutrality and independence but the very value of it as an institution ….. Our responsibility of deciding the case without fear or favour …. does not mean that the court decision should be in favour of the Government all the time…….”

18. “Apart from this,” he continued, “the problem of maintaining judicial independence is further complicated by the fact that the judiciary is the weakest of all the three branches of the Government.”

19. “What matters most in order to enable us to save the system from disastrous consequences is that we judges must act with responsibility and dignity and not be drawn or tempted into an impulsive action which could only result in aggravating the situation.”

20. These two speeches were delivered on 1st August 1987 and 12th January 1988 respectively. But Tun Salleh’s letter to the King was dated 26th March 1988. As I pointed out earlier it is not true that he did not speak about his accusations against the Government in public because he maintains that “such action is not compatible with our position as judges under the Constitution” and that “it is only proper for us to be patient in the interest of the nation.”

21. All his statements in these two speeches clearly contain his criticisms of the Prime Minister and the Government long before he wrote his letter to the King.

22. Another point raised in his letter to the Agong is that “the accusations and comments have brought shame to all of us (judges) and left us mentally disturbed to the extent of being unable to discharge our functions orderly and properly.”

23. In Section 125 of the Federal Constitution, under clause (3) the grounds for removing a judge, apart from misbehaviour include infirmity of body or mind or any other cause, properly to discharge the functions of his office.”

24. By his own admission Tun Salleh was not able “to discharge his functions orderly and properly.” He was therefore unfit to continue to be a judge.

25. Section 125, Clause 4 provides for “the Yang di Pertuan Agong to appoint a Tribunal …. and refer the representations to it, and may on the recommendation of the tribunal remove the judge from office.”

26. The two letters from Tun Salleh were regarded by the Agong as being highly improper and insulting particularly the copies sent to the other Rulers.

27. During one of my weekly meetings with the Agong, DYMM expressed his annoyance over the letters and simply requested that I dismiss Tun Salleh Abas from being the Lord President of the Malaysian Courts. He writes in his own handwriting his request on the margin of Tun Salleh’s first letter, regarding the noise made by the work on the Agong’s residence.

28. To the Agong it was a simple matter. He had appointed the Lord President and therefore he was entitled to remove him. I thought it was best for me to inform Cabinet and seek the advice of the Attorney-General.

29. I must admit that Tun Salleh’s complaints against me in his letter annoyed me. It is true that I had criticised the judges for interpreting the laws passed by Government not in accordance with the intention or objective of the laws. I did suggest that if the laws were interpreted differently from what the Government and the legislators intended, then we would amend the laws. During a cabinet meeting I had in jest quoted Shakespeare’s words, “The first thing we do we hang the lawyers.” Only a nitwit would think that I meant what I said literally. But apparently lawyers and judges took umbrage over what I said and regarded me as their enemy (about to hang them, I suppose).

30. I also criticised judges for making laws themselves through their interpretations and subsequently citing these as their authority. I believed that the separation of powers meant the Legislators make laws and the judiciary apply them. Of course if the laws made by the legislators breach the provisions of the constitution, the supreme law of the land, then judges can reject them.

31. Again some judges simply refused to hear cases involving the death penalty, pushing these unfairly on to other judges.

32. It is the view of most jurists that “It is not wrong for any member of the public or the administration to criticise the judiciary. “Justice is not a cloistered virtue.” (Peter Aldridge Williams QC).

33. The above writer quoted McKenna J “There is no difference between the judge and the Common Man except that one administers the law and the other endures it.”

34. Yet Tun Salleh took the view that I was subverting the independence of the judiciary when I expressed views on how judges frustrated the objectives of the legislators.

35. Through the grapevine I heard of the judges’ displeasure with me. But I did not take any action, certainly not to remove Tun Salleh. I only acted after the Agong complained about the two letters.

36. The Cabinet agreed that we must adhere strictly to the provisions of the Constitution. I therefore advised the Agong that Tun Salleh could not be removed unless the Agong appoints a Tribunal to hear the complaints against him and make recommendations to the Agong.

37. Upon the Agong agreeing, the Government selected six judges and former judges for His Majesty to consider. The members included foreign judges in the person of the Honourable the Justice K.A.P. Ranasinghe, Chief Justice Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Honourable Mr Justice T.S. Sinnathuray, Senior Judge of the Supreme Court of Singapore.

38. The Chairman was the Chief Judge (Malaya), Tan Sri Dato Abdul Hamid bin Hj Omar. The other members were Dato Sri Lee Hun Hoe, Chief Justice (Borneo), Tan Sri Abdul Aziz bin Zain, Retired Judge and Tan Sri Mohd Zahir bin Ismail, Retired Judge.

39. The inclusion of foreign judges was to make sure the Tribunal would not be biased.

40. It is unfortunate that Tun Salleh Abas refused to appear before the Tribunal. Instead he depended on his colleagues to try to prevent the findings of the Tribunal from reaching the Yang di Pertuan Agong.

41. What the five judges who were sympathetic to him did was certainly not in keeping with Tun Salleh’s expressed views in his talk during the launching of the book “Law, Justice and the Judiciary. Transnational Trend, “when he said “we as judges must act with responsibility and dignity and not be drawn or tempted into any impulsive action which could only result in aggravating the situation.”

42. The five judges had ignored rules and procedures and the requirement to get the approval of the (Acting) Lord President, as well as wait for the findings by Mr Justice Ajaib Singh on the same matter. Instead they cancelled courts sittings in Kota Bahru which were scheduled for the judges, and held a sitting of the Supreme Court in Kuala Lumpur to hear an application by Tun Salleh Abbas for prohibition proceedings to determine his position.

43. The Supreme Court of five judges with Tan Sri Wan Sulaiman presiding heard an ex parte oral application by Tun Salleh’s lawyer, retired for a few minutes, returned and unanimously made an order for stay restraining the Tribunal from submitting any recommendations, report or advice respecting the enquiry to His Majesty the Yang di Pertuan Agong until further order.

44. Subsequently the Acting Lord President, set up a Supreme Court of five judges which negated the decision of the Wan Suleiman Court.

45. I would like to repeat that despite public criticisms made against me by Tun Salleh, I did not take any action against him. I only did so after he insulted the Agong and the Agong requested me to have him removed. Of course some would still say I influenced the Agong. But throughout my 22 years I had never involved the rulers in politics or my personal problems. The records are there for all to see.

46. I was very concerned over the forcible removal of Tun Salleh. And so I tried to get Tun Salleh to resign on his own so as to avoid a scandal. He agreed at first but he withdrew the following day.

47. I then went about getting the Tribunal approved and set up. Naturally I had to consult the Attorney-General and others who were familiar with judges. Once the Tribunal was set up my involvement ended.

48. When Tun Salleh and the other judges had their services terminated, they should not be paid their pensions. But following appeals by Attorney-General I agreed that they should be paid their full pensions. They therefore did not suffer any financial loss and their pensions were computed from the time they left.

49. These are the facts relating to the dismissal of Tun Salleh. It was he and his fellow judges who brought disrepute to the judiciary.

50. I write this to record things as they happened. I do not expect my detractors to stop saying that I destroyed the judiciary. They are my prosecutors and they are also my judges. To them I will always be the Idi Amin of Malaysia as claimed in Tun Salleh’s book “May Day for Justice”. Sadly many who so readily condemn me were judges.

Salleh Abas’ two letters ‘insulting’ King were basis for his sacking: Dr M

Two letters Tun Salleh Abas wrote to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Iskandar “complaining about noise during some repair work??? at the King’s palace near the former Lord President’s house and complaining against the Prime Minister were the basis for his sacking, according to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in his blog today.
“This (the letters) alone can be considered as very improper,??? Dr Mahathir wrote in his very popular blog “A man as senior as he was could have asked to see the Agong and verbally informed him about the noise. But to compound the act of les majesté he sent copies of his letter to the other rulers. This implied that he did not have faith in the Agong and wanted the other Rulers to apply pressure on him.???

Dr Mahathir cited a second letter that Salleh wrote to the King, who at that time was Sultan Iskandar, the Sultan of Johor, that, among others, stated: “All of us (the judges) are disappointed with the various comments and accusations made by the Prime Minister against the judiciary not only outside but inside Parliament.???

Dr Mahathir quoted Salleh as writing in his letter: “The accusations and comments have brought shame to all of us and left us mentally disturbed to the extent of being unable to discharge our functions orderly and properly.???

Copies of the second letter complaining about the behaviour of the Prime Minister were also sent to the other Rulers. Sultan Iskandar was the yang di-Pertuan Agong from 1984 to 1989. Salleh wrote the letters in 1988.
The two letters from Tun Salleh were regarded by the Agong as being “highly improper and insulting particularly the copies sent to the other Rulers???, Dr Mahathir wrote.

“During one of my weekly meetings with the Agong, DYMM expressed his annoyance over the letters and simply requested that I dismiss Tun Salleh Abas from being the Lord President of the Malaysian Courts. He writes in his own handwriting his request on the margin of Tun Salleh’s first letter, regarding the noise made by the work on the Agong’s residence.???

“To the Agong it was a simple matter. He had appointed the Lord President and therefore he was entitled to remove him. I thought it was best for me to inform Cabinet and seek the advice of the Attorney-General.

“I must admit that Tun Salleh’s complaints against me in his letter annoyed me,??? Dr Mahathir wrote. “It is true that I had criticised the judges for interpreting the laws passed by Government not in accordance with the intention or objective of the laws. I did suggest that if the laws were interpreted differently from what the Government and the legislators intended, then we would amend the laws. During a cabinet meeting I had in jest quoted Shakespeare’s words, ‘The first thing we do we hang the lawyers.’ Only a nitwit would think that I meant what I said literally. But apparently lawyers and judges took umbrage over what I said and regarded me as their enemy (about to hang them, I suppose).???

Dr Mahathir wrote that he despite public criticisms made against him by Tun Salleh, he did not take any action against the Lord President but only did so after he “insulted the Agong and the Agong requested me to have him removed.???

“Of course some would still say I influenced the Agong. But throughout my 22 years I had never involved the rulers in politics or my personal problems. The records are there for all to see,??? he wrote. “I was very concerned over the forcible removal of Tun Salleh. And so I tried to get Tun Salleh to resign on his own so as to avoid a scandal. He agreed at first but he withdrew the following day.

“I then went about getting the Tribunal approved and set up. Naturally I had to consult the Attorney-General and others who were familiar with judges. Once the Tribunal was set up my involvement ended.???

Dr Mahathir wrote that when Tun Salleh and the other judges had their services terminated, they should not be paid their pensions.

“But following appeals by Attorney-General, I agreed that they should be paid their full pensions,??? he said. “They therefore did not suffer any financial loss and their pensions were computed from the time they left.???

Dr Mahathir said these were the facts relating to the dismissal of Salleh and accused the former Lord President and his fellow judges of bringing disrepute to the judiciary.

“I write this to record things as they happened,??? Dr Mahathir wrote. “I do not expect my detractors to stop saying that I destroyed the judiciary. They are my prosecutors and they are also my judges. To them I will always be the Idi Amin of Malaysia as claimed in Tun Salleh’s book “May Day for Justice???. Sadly many who so readily condemn me were judges.???

Karpal, Mahathir exchange letters on 1988 judicial crisis

On 27 March 2008, the MP for Bukit Gelugor, Karpal Singh, wrote to former premier Mahathir about the 1988 judicial crisis. “It is not the present Government which should apologise, but you yourself personally,” wrote Karpal. “Your culpability in the events leading to the dismissal of these three judges cannot have any justification in law or otherwise.”
“The necessity for you to apologise cries to high heaven. Your acts caused the judges concerned and their families untold pain and suffering.”
Karpal said he was writing to find out whether Mahathir was prepared to tender an unqualified and unconditional apology to Salleh Abas, George Seah and the family of the late Wan Suleiman Pawanteh, “who was one of the finest judges the judiciary ever had”.
It is imperative that the spirit of Wan Suleiman be appeased, he added. “This is the least you can do in your lifetime to atone for your actions for what transpired twenty years ago.
In an extraordinary letter to Karpal on 3 April 2008, Mahathir responded with guns blazing:
YB Mr Karpal Singh
Member of Parliament, Bukit Gelugor
Yang berhormat
Thank you for your letter.
You and my other detractors will never believe me whatever I may say. You are moved by pure hatred and I cannot respond to people who can never accept reality.
My conscience is clear. I have done what was my duty and I owe nobody any apology. I am sure you will make use of this letter to dirty my name further. That is your right. I think you are the most contemptible of politicians and individuals.
Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad
Karpal responded today in a press statement:
I stand by what I have stated in my letter. I refer, in particular, to the last paragraph of Dr Mahathir’s letter where he calls me “the most contemptible of politicians and individuals.”
As Dr Mahathir is much older to me, I do not propose to hurt his feelings in the vein by which he has described me.
I would advise Dr Mahathir to take my views in his stride. I assure him I don’t hate him.
Karpal Singh
Ordinary Malaysians can gauge for themselves Mahathir’s role in this whole sordid affair.
Why not let Tun Salleh provide an eye-witness account of what transpired. This account is based on his private notes and was reproduced in Aliran Monthly, soon after his dismissal in 1988:
When I arrived at the Prime Minister’s Department I was met by a policeman who took me by lift to a waiting room. After waiting for about two or three minutes, I was shown into the Prime Minister’s Office by an officer, whom I did not recognise. There I found YAB Perdana Menteri (then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad) seated at his table with YAB Encik Ghafar Baba, Timbalan Perdana Menteri (then deputy prime minister) and Tan Sri Sallehuddin Mohamed, Ketua Setiausaha Negara (the then chief secretary to the government) seated at the same table opposite the Prime Minister. When I entered the room I gave the Prime Minister and the others my salam very loudly and he replied my salam. (Peace be on You).
After I had taken my seat, the Prime Minister told me that he had an unpleasant duty to perform and on being asked what it was, he replied that he had been asked by (the then) DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di Pertuan Agong to tell me that I should step down. I then expressed my surprise in an Islamic way saying “Glory to God, who is free from any partnership.” Then I asked him for the reasons and in reply he said that he was not prepared to argue with me, but finally he said the reason was that I had written a letter to DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di Pertuan Agong regarding the state of relationship between the Judiciary and the Executive. I told him that I wrote the letter simply because Judges, at a meeting on 25 March 1988, had informed me that they were very concerned about the present situation and asked to express their views through me. YAB Perdana Menteri then said that I made speeches indicating that I am biased and I am not qualified to sit in UMNO cases. I told him that I said nothing of that and the speeches I had made only dealt with the criticisms levelled at the Judiciary. I am not at all biased or bipartisan in political matters. While all this was going on, YAB Encik Ghafar Baba kept his head down while Tan Sri Sallehuddin was writing in a note book, which he was then holding.
When finally I said I would not resign, he told me that if I stepped down I would be given everything that I was entitled to. I told him that I was entitled to nothing since I was not yet 60. Obviously, he was surprised when told I was not 60 yet. Finally, he said that if I did not step down he would institute a Judicial Tribunal with a view to removing me. I told him I would not resign because if I did, I could not show my face to anyone and I might as well die.
He said that I could see the Agong if I wanted to and he would not stop me from doing so.
I told him that I would not be resigning and he could do what he pleased with me, including going ahead with the Tribunal. As there was nothing else to discuss, I finally said “Datuk, I should not waste anybody’s time”, and I shook his hand, also Encil Ghafar Baba’s and Tan Sri Sallehuddin’s. None of these three looked me right in my face and I could detect Encik Ghafar Baba was strangely silent and Tan Sri Sallehuddin only caught me by the side of his eyes but he too appeared to be subdued.
The Prime Minister himself, from the beginning to the end, did not even look me in the eye. He was looking down at his table all the time.
I left his room and I only saw one policeman outside his room who appeared surprised to see me there. When I went downstairs there was nobody even to see me off and no one called for my driver. I had to go out to look for my driver.
My future is tied up with the fate of this country. I come from an unknown family and I have reached the top of my profession. I have no desire to leave until I have reached the age of 65 like my predecessors, except the Sultan of Perak, who vacated the job because of a call of duty to be the Ruler of Perak. I leave my fate to the judgment of Allah and as it is Friday, I wish to quote the Quran, which says, “No misfortune will fall on us except what has been decreed by Allah. He is our protector and in whom the believers should place their trust.” This passage from the Quran struck my heart as I entered the door of the Prime Minister’s Office and it remained with me during the course of our discussion till the end, and to my exit from his room.
You be the judge!

Ex-Suhakam members support Dzaiddin’s call

KUALA LUMPUR: The Association for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) has supported former chief justice Tun Mohd Dzaidin’s call for the restoration of judicial powers in the hands of the judiciary to ensure its continued independence.

In a statement, the group, established by former members of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysian (Suhakam) last year, also supports an amendment to Article 121(1) to return judicial powers in their original form to both the High Court of Malaya and the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak.

“In 1988, Parliament amended Article 121(1) of the Federal Constitution, removing the judicial powers vested in the two High Courts,” the association said in a statement.

“In moving for the said amendment, the government wanted to ensure that legislation passed by Parliament is interpreted in the manner desired by the government, thus limiting the judiciary in being able to interpret the law based on the allowed canons of interpretation.”

The statement, which was issued on behalf of Tan Sri Simon Sipaun, Prof Datuk Hamdan Adnan, Datuk Michael Yeoh, Datuk Kuthbul Zaman and Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria, said the amendment altered the fundamental structure of the Federal Constitution and the judiciary’s independence, as their power was limited by Parliament and was dictated by the executive.

“Hence, the judiciary has become dependent on the executive for its judicial powers,” it said.

The association said this was in contrary to the concept of democracy as it fi rmly believed the separation of powers between legislature, judiciary and executive was fundamental to the enhancement of human rights.

“As loyal Malaysians, we must restore this fundamental principle of check-andbalance to ensure Malaysia continues in the tradition of the founding fathers, is consistent with the Federal Constitution and is empowered to face 2020 and beyond,” its said.

The association’s comments came after Mohd Dzaiddin claimed that the courts had become subservient to politicians in the executive arm of government today because of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Dzaiddin had emphasised that Malaysia’s judiciary was not a tool to be used by the government for any kind of political expediency.

He also cited the sacking of then-lord president Tun Mohamed Salleh Abas by Dr Mahathir in 1988 which, he claimed, was because of clashes in opinion over the roles of the two arms of government.

In response, de facto law minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz agreed that Dr Mahathir was involved in almost every aspect of the judiciary during his tenure, resulting in other posts to “always be subservient” to the prime minister.

However, he said, no further amendments to the constitution were needed as the extent of their subservience today depended on the prime minister’s personality.

Dr Mahathir responded by denying the allegations and labelling them as slander.

Judiciary now cowed due to Dr M, says ex-CJ

A former chief justice’s observation that the courts have become subservient to politicians in the executive because of Mahathir sparked an exchange in the media over what really happened, reports the Malaysian Insider in a series of reports.

Judiciary now cowed due to Dr M, says ex-CJ
By Melissa Chi
The courts have become subservient to politicians in the executive arm of government today because of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, former Chief Justice Tun Mohd Dzaiddin Abdullah said today (11 February 2012).
The retired judge highlighted the amendment to Article 121 of the Federal Constitution, made during Dr Mahathir’s administration in the 1980s, which effectively clipped the judiciary’s wings for over two decades.
“As a result of the amendment, the judicial powers of the courts were removed and they have only such judicial powers as Parliament gives,” Mohd Dzaiddin said, adding that it meant “Parliament is more superior than what the judiciary was.”
The man, who once headed the country’s courts, said the amendment was repugnant “because Parliament attempted to dictate to the judiciary that it only has judicial powers which Parliament itself says the judiciary has.”
He stressed: “This alters in my view in a very fundamental manner the basic structure of the Federal Constitution, from the concept of the independence of the judiciary to dependence of the judiciary on the executive for its judicial powers.”
Malaysia’s judiciary is not a tool to be used by the government for any kind of political expediency, Mohd Dzaiddin said.
“The judiciary should be completely independent both of the executive and the legislature,” the retired judge said in his keynote speech celebrating Tunku Abdul Rahman’s birthday and the Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs’ (IDEAS) second anniversary at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Memorial today.
In 1988, then Lord President Tun Mohamed Salleh Abas was sacked by then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir.
Mohd Dzaiddin said the incident was due to clashes in opinions between Dr Mahathir and Salleh over the roles of the two arms of government.
Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee also said the incident in 1988 should never be repeated.
“I think there is a recognition now by everybody, we must never go back to the days of ‘88, we must never allow a prime minister to sack judges just because he made a judicial pronouncement which was unfavourable to the government of the day, that must never ever happen again,” he said.
Lim said for commercial cases, Malaysia’s judiciary system was credible enough to handle cases from the region.
“But the ultimate test is of course when it comes to politically sensitive cases or religious cases and how our appellate courts deal with it.
“On that score, I still give them a minus because so far as religious cases go, the conversion cases, there is a fear by our appellate courts in having to make a decision. They keep postponing, the controversial cases just being postponed, then there is of course the Perak crisis,” he said.
On Wednesday, a three-man panel of judges in the Court of Appeal ruled that the rights and freedom of speech enshrined in the Federal Constitution are not absolute.
As a result, veteran DAP MP Karpal Singh’s statement at a press conference in 2009, that the Sultan of Perak could be sued, had crossed legal lines and amounted to sedition, the judges said.
“To be fair, we have very courageous judges who have awarded substantial damages against the government for wrongful detention. So to be fair there are those, in the words of Tun Dzaiddin, ‘silver lining out there’,” Lim said.
Dr M says ex-CJ’s claims about cowed judiciary a lie
By Yow Hong Chieh
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has called a former chief justice’s claim that the courts are subservient to politicians due to constitutional amendments made during his tenure a lie.
“That’s slander, but I won’t sue them. That whole gang, they make unfounded accusations,” the former prime minister said after attending a Muslim Welfare Organisation of Malaysia (Perkim) meeting today (13 February).
“There was no such provision. If I had power, I would’ve replaced a lot of people if I could… It was the King who wanted (Tun) Salleh Abas dropped.”…
Aziz Bari: Judges to blame for own impotence
By Shannon Teoh
A constitutional expert has said “judges only have themselves to blame” for allowing the power of the courts to be compromised after a former chief justice said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s constitutional amendments in the 1980s put the judiciary under the thumb of the executive.
Tun Mohd Dzaiddin Abdullah said last weekend the amendment to Article 121 of the Federal Constitution removed the judicial powers of the courts, giving them “only such judicial powers as Parliament gives.”
But former International Islamic University (UIA) law professor Abdul Aziz Bari said that judges point to the amendment to Article 121(1) because they “lack courage and intellectual conviction to carry out the role as the guardians of the Constitution”.
“It is for the judges to do something to rectify the problems and weaknesses of the Constitution. The Constitution has provided enough; the rest is for the judges to do it themselves.
“In fact they could have ruled that the 1988 amendment was unconstitutional as it interferes with the doctrine of separation of powers inherent in the Constitution. It is just too late now for them to complain,” he told The Malaysian Insider via email last night (13 February 2012).
He referred to a 2003 Court of Appeal judgment by Justice Tan Sri Gopal Sri Ram that held that the amendment made by the Mahathir administration did not remove power from the courts “let alone vest power in other institutions.”
The now-retired judge had said that while Article 121 now provides the court with “jurisdiction and powers as may be conferred by or under Federal law… a bald statement to the effect that what statute gives, statute may take away is an over-simplification of the true constitutional position.”
However, in January 2004, a five-member panel of the Federal Court, in the case Danaharta Urus Sdn Bhd vs Kekatong Sdn Bhd, struck down Sri Ram’s judgment….
Opposition leaders also said yesterday they would return the judiciary to pre-1988 condition and remove the amendment to Article 121.
Abdul Aziz said, however, that judges have “simply refused to put into effect the interpretation that is closer to the ideals of the Constitution, namely democracy and constitutionalism.”
He referred to the Perak constitutional crisis in 2009, when the judiciary ruled that Barisan Nasional’s (BN) takeover of the state government was legitimate despite Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir not winning a floor vote in the state assembly before being installed as mentri besar.
Abdul Aziz, who has offered himself as a candidate to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) for the next general election, also said the executive wielded influence on judges through the award of titles and “post-retirement rewards such as being appointed commission chairman and director in a GLC”.
“It is not wrong to point the finger at the 1988 amendment given the state of affairs engulfing the judiciary now. But it is not the only reason. It was just the last nail to the coffin.”
Judiciary ‘subservient’ during Mahathir years, says minister
By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said there were “probably” truths to claims that the courts were subservient to politicians back when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed was prime minister.
The defacto law minister however charged that this was not due to constitutional amendments made by Dr Mahathir but the way he observed the law.
“Probably (Tun Mohd) Dzaiddin (Abdullah) was right to say that probably during his time as Chief Justice, there has been interference. Only the CJ will know whether the courts were subservient or not,” Nazri told reporters here today (14 February).
He said the question of whether the judiciary was subservient to politicians depended on the personality of the prime minister, and that such doubts would not occur if he (Dr Mahathir) observed the principle of the independence of the judiciary.
“If the PM does not observe this, there will be interference. It happened during Tun Dr Mahathir’s tenure, the CJ was sacked and so were a few judges.
“But when Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi became PM, the government decided to give ex-gratia payment to all judges who were dismissed in the 1988 judicial issue…this was an admission by the government that there were wrongful dismissal of judges,” added Nazri…
“The facts are there. He (Dr Mahathir) is a dear old man but sometimes there are issues raised and as minister I am asked for my comment, this is just a professional comment.
“No personal issues. I apologise if Tun Dr Mahathir feels bad about it,” said Nazri.
Dr M: Constitutional changes did not alter judicial powers
By Yow Hong Chieh
Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today (17 February) amendments to Article 121 of the Federal Constitution only gave the Attorney-General responsibility to choose which court should hear a case.
This merely returned responsibility to the A-G to decide on which cases would be tried in the High Court and did not make the judiciary subservient to politicians, he stressed.
Dr Mahathir said the matter arose in 1987 when the judge in Datuk Yap Peng’s criminal breach of trust trial ruled that section 418A(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) was unconstitutional after the public prosecutor had applied to transfer the case to the High Court.
Section 418A(1) originally allowed any case tried in a criminal court subordinate to the High Court to be transferred to the High Court.
The Supreme Court then ruled 3-2 in favour of the trial judge’s opinion, with Tan Sri Hashim Yeop A. Sani and Tun Salleh Abas opposing.
“Salleh Abas, giving his minority dissenting view, said: ‘I cannot see how this power… could be regarded as an encroachment upon judicial power of the court. In my view, it is neither a judicial power nor an encroachment of that power’.
“It was probably to make clear the situation and to restore the right of the A-G that he decided to include the amendment to Article 121(1) when the Constitution was to be amended to clarify the role of the Rulers in law-making,” Dr Mahathir said in his blog.
The Umno veteran said he did not seek clarification from the A-G at the time as he did not consider the amendment to Article 121 as altering judicial powers in any way.
“It is normal that whenever a law needs to be amended to facilitate the process of justice, then it would be amended. The Constitution was drafted by mere men and it cannot be perfect,” he noted.
“The rights and functions of the judiciary have not been subservient to the politicians or the prime minister before or after the amendment. This is because the amendment involves only the procedure in which the A-G was given back the responsibility to transfer cases. It did not give the prime minister any authority to overrule the courts.”…
Dr Mahathir reiterated today that it was the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and not he, who had wanted Salleh removed and pointed out that his administration had gone by the book in dismissing the Lord President.
He noted that the Constitution contained a provision to remove a judge following a tribunal and that neither the King nor the prime minister could dismiss a judge themselves.
“All these procedures were followed to the letter. Two foreign judges were on the panel. The panel decided on Salleh’s removal and not the prime minister or the government.
“Simply because Salleh was removed in accordance with the Constitution does not mean the judiciary is subservient to the government or the prime minister,” he said.
Dr Mahathir added that Dzaiddin should provide examples of the former’s alleged interference in the courts during his time as chief justice and not just make claims.
“Perhaps Tun Dzaiddin might be able to tell more about lobbying for high judicial appointments. Malay adats have a very powerful role in the governance of this country,” he said.

Dr M Made The Judiciary Dependent on Politicians, Ex-Chief Justice

The retired judge highlighted the amendment to Article 121 of the Federal Constitution, made during Dr Mahathir’s administration in the 1980s, which effectively clipped the judiciary’s wings for over two decades.
As a result of the amendment, the judicial powers of the courts were removed and they have only such judicial powers as Parliament gives,” Mohd Dzaiddin said, adding that it meant “Parliament is more superior than what the judiciary was.”
The man, who once headed the country’s courts, said the amendment was repugnant “because Parliament attempted to dictate to the judiciary that it only has judicial powers which Parliament itself says the judiciary has.”
He stressed: “This alters in my view in a very fundamental manner the basic structure of the Federal Constitution, from the concept of the independence of the judiciary to dependence of the judiciary on the executive for its judicial powers.”
Malaysia’s judiciary is not a tool to be used by the government for any kind of political expediency, Mohd Dzaiddin said.
“The judiciary should be completely independent both of the executive and the legislature,” the retired judge said in his keynote speech celebrating Tunku Abdul Rahman’s birthday and the Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs’ (IDEAS) second anniversary at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Memorial today.
In 1988, then Lord President Tun Mohamed Salleh Abas was sacked by then-Prime Minister Dr Mahathir.
Mohd Dzaiddin said the incident was due to clashes in opinions between Dr Mahathir and Salleh over the roles of the two arms of government.
Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee also said the incident in 1988 should never be repeated.
“I think there is a recognition now by everybody, we must never go back to the days of ‘88, we must never allow a prime minister to sack judges just because he made a judicial pronouncement which was unfavourable to the government of the day, that must never ever happen again,” he said.
Lim said for commercial cases, Malaysia’s judiciary system was credible enough to handle cases from the region.
“But the ultimate test is of course when it comes to politically sensitive cases or religious cases and how our appellate courts deal with it.
“On that score, I still give them a minus because so far as religious cases go, the conversion cases, there is a fear by our appellate courts in having to make a decision. They keep postponing, the controversial cases just being postponed, then there is of course the Perak crisis,” he said.
On Wednesday, a three-man panel of judges in the Court of Appeal ruled that the rights and freedom of speech enshrined in the Federal Constitution are not absolute.
As a result, veteran DAP MP Karpal Singh’s statement at a press conference in 2009, that the Sultan of Perak could be sued, had crossed legal lines and amounted to sedition, the judges said.
“To be fair, we have very courageous judges who have awarded substantial damages against the government for wrongful detention. So to be fair there are those, in the words of Tun Dzaiddin, ‘silver lining out there’,” Lim said.

Another cock-and-bull story from Mahathir

Now he says the government's bailout of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) in 2000, during his premiership, was "not the worst". What does that mean? Is he saying that the bailout was all right simply because it was not the worst?
Kee Thuan Chye
Mahathir Mohamad should talk straight or just shut up.

Whenever he rebuts allegations of wrongdoing during his tenure as prime minister, he appears to sound not only defensive but deceptive as well.

Now he says the government's bailout of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) in 2000, during his premiership, was "not the worst". What does that mean? Is he saying that the bailout was all right simply because it was not the worst?

If he is still of sound mind and can understand this, let me say it is not all right. So what if it was not the worst act of using public funds? It was nonetheless committed. Should only the worst be held accountable?

That bailout cost Malaysians RM1.8 billion. And the government paid for the MAS shares at more than double their market price. Why was this so?

Well, Mahathir has become famous for blaming others; this time, he points to the Finance Ministry - for recommending the purchase at such a price. Has he forgotten he was the country's chief executive officer then, and that it wouldn't have gone through without his say-so, no matter which ministry or individual recommended it?

He says MAS had to be saved from bankruptcy because it was "necessary". But why was MAS privatised to Tajudin Ramli in the first place when the latter had had no track record in the airline industry? Whom would Mahathir blame for this?

And what about the other bailouts? Bank Bumiputra, Renong, and Proton, which was bought by Petronas from DRB-Hicom when the latter was deep in debt?

Mahathir is always right
Mahathir tries to justify the MAS bailout by comparing it to the cancellation of the double-tracking project by his successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. But that doesn't make it right. Would making such a comparison absolve Mahathir from the questionable use of public funds under his watch?

Did Mahathir have a personal stake in that project to make him so angry towards Abdullah for cancelling it, and therefore so unforgiving of the latter?

The way he's been slamming Abdullah, almost at every chance he gets, indicates he has a personal axe to grind with the man. But he's been doing it so often now that it's really getting tiresome.

The thing about Mahathir is, he is always right and everyone else wrong. Less than two weeks ago, he refuted allegations that when he was prime minister, he cowed the judiciary.

Has he forgotten that in 1988, his ruling party, which then enjoyed a two-thirds majority in Parliament, passed an amendment to Article 121 of the Federal Constitution which effectively removed the judicial power from the courts and made the judiciary subservient to Parliament?

When former chief justice Dzaiddin Abdullah brought up three weeks ago that this was so, and de facto Law Minister Nazri Aziz agreed, what was Mahathir's response? "This is fitnah (slander)," he said. But why is it fitnah when the amendment was indeed made and we have seen the consequences of it?

To deflect from the real issue, Mahathir blamed Nazri for getting personal. "Nazri ... you know, he never likes me," he said. But what about Dzaiddin? Mahathir doesn't mention it, but does Dzaiddin not like him too?

So that's how Mahathir avoids facing up to the truth - use emotional prattle, throw the focus off himself onto others, make it seem that others are against him and that they want to run him down.

To aim insult at Nazri and aggrandise himself, he also said, condescendingly and arrogantly, "Let him be. It doesn't hurt me. Let dogs bark, but mountains don't crumble."

He even asserted that he was blameless in the sacking of then Lord President Salleh Abas, which Dzaiddin claimed was due to the disagreement between Mahathir and Salleh over the role of the courts. Whom did Mahathir blame instead?

"It was the Agong (king) who wanted [Salleh] removed," he said. That must have got people rolling on the floor with laughter. Given Mahathir's track record in relation to royalty, are we to believe that he would have acceded to the request of removing Salleh if indeed the Agong had made it?

Not responsible for ISA arrests too

How did we entrust a man who talks like that with the nation's most important job for 22 years? If we weren't vigilant then, we should be vigilant now and make sure we don't put into that office someone as reluctant to be accountable as that.

Mahathir was unwilling to be accountable for Operation Lalang too. Regarding that infamous swoop on 106 citizens in 1987 that detained them under the Internal Security Act, he passed the buck to the police.

He said: "Well, I would have handled it differently, except that the police wanted to do these things because they say it is necessary ..." He washed his hands of the matter. He was effectively saying the police did it.

But if that was so, how come when it came to authorising the detention of 40 of the 106 to two years, Mahathir, who was also the home minister then, signed it? Did the police twist his arm and force him to do it too?

He is even down on record to have said, "I actually met all of the opposition members (beforehand) and assured them that they would not be arrested."
But Lim Kit Siang (right), who was among the 40 detained for two years, has attested that he never met Mahathir beforehand. What does Mahathir have to say to that?

Perhaps it's best not to ask him that question or he might come up with something that looks like a Uri Geller feat. Or Lim might get blamed for this too!

Actually, it's not good to ask Mahathir any questions. Or to give him so much coverage in the media. He should be allowed the space only if he talks sense or if he admits to whatever mistakes he has made. But then infallible as he is, such an admission looks unlikely to happen.

The way it looks, the mountain is not going to crumble. If it does, the world would end.

Another cock-and-bull story from Mahathir

Kee Thuan Chye | Feb 25, 2012

22 years of Dr Mahathir’s reign as Prime Minister of Malaysia is coming to an end, and it is apt for us now to  review the impact that it has had on  the Malaysian Judiciary and also the doctrine of separation of powers, essential for good government and to prevent a over- concentration of power on any one of the three bodies of government - the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. 


After obtaining independence from the British in 1957 until the mid 80s, the Malaysian Judiciary built a reputation of being independent and impartial, and was held in high esteem by members of the public. There was, it seems, no accusation of judicial improprieties, corruption, bias and/or judicial misconduct during this period. After Independence, one still had a right of appeal to the Privy Council if they were aggrieved with the decision of the Federal Court, but as time passed fewer and fewer appeals were taken up to the Privy Council and this can be taken only as an indication of the public satisfaction and appreciation of the competency of the Malaysian Judiciary. Finally, it was decided towards the end of the 70's that this right of appeal to the Privy Council be discontinued. The Federal then in early 80s became the final Court of Appeal in Malaysian, and was renamed the Supreme Court.

When Dr Mahathir Mohamad became the Prime Minister, being the first person without a legal background to assume this position, he too apparently did have a rather high regard for the Malaysian Judiciary. At  the advent of his premiership, in a speech made at the opening ceremony of the Asean Law Association General Assembly on 26 October 1982, he had this to say about the Malaysian Judiciary:-

I will always respect the Judiciary. We do not expect the courts to be pro or anti Government, only pro the Constitution and pro the law. The Government always considers the Constitution and the law carefully before we do anything so we expect the Judiciary to be free to judge our alleged trespasses without fear or favour, but in accordance with the law, in accordance with the law of evidence and procedure justly and fairly. We shall always respect their judgments...”


But just several years later, the Dr Mahathir’s feelings about the Judiciary changed. It was intensified with the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Berthelsen -v- Director of Immigration, Malaysia & Ors. In brief, the DG of Immigration served a notice cancelling the two-year employment pass of a staff correspondent attched to the Kuala Lumpur office of the Asian Wall Street Journal. The Supreme Court came to a decision that since Berthelsen had not been given the opportunity to make representation regarding the cancelation of his employment pass, the requirement of natural justice had not been satisfied. Accordingly the court quashed the cancellation decision of the DG.

Subsequently in commenting on the role of the courts, Dr Mahathir was reported in the 24 November 1986 issue of Time magazine, as saying, amongst others,

“The Judiciary says , ‘Although you passed a law with certain thing in mind, we think that your mind is wrong , and we want to give our intepretation.’ If we disagree, the courts say, ‘We will intepret your disagreement.’ If we go along, we are going to lose our power of legislation. We know exactly what we want to do, but once we do it, it is intepreted in a different way, and we have no means to intepret it our way. If we find that a court always throws us out on its own intepretation, if it inteprets contrary to why we made the law, then we will have to find a way of producing a law that will have to be interpreted according to our wish.”

This passage sparked off a contempt of court action instituted by Lim Kit Siang against the Prime Minister. The High Court, and thereafter the Supreme Court dismissed this action.

This was followed by the UEM case, which although ultimately at the Supreme Court was a victory to the government, it was only a majority decision with 2 judges dissenting.
During this time, we also  had the UMNO Crisis which followed the contest for UMNO presidency in 1987 which Dr Mahathir, who was challenged by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, won by a very slim majority of 43 votes. Eleven members the challenged the validity of this elections, which resulted in the High Court declaring that UMNO was an unlawful society. The plaintiffs appeled to the Supreme Court, and the appeal was fixed to be heard on 13 June 1988 by a full bench of nine Supreme Court Judges. What was at stake was the political survival of UMNO, the dominant party of the Barisan nasional, and of course, Dr Mahathir himself.


It was also around this time that not being able to endure ‘the various comments and accusations made by the Honourable Prime Minister against the Judiciary, not only outside but within Parliament, the then Lord President Tun Salleh Abas following a meeting with about 20 judges, including Tun Hamid Omar, decided to sent a letter to the King and the State Rulers on 26 March 1988. Following this letter, Dr Mahathir reacted and this led to the  removal of Tun Salleh Abas as Lord President on 8 August 1988  by the King based on the recomendation of the Tribunal chaired by the then Chief Justice Tun Hamid Omar. It is good to note that the UMNO appeal was also heard on the same day and dismissed the following day.

Thereafter, based on the recomendations of a Second Tribunal chaired by Edgar Joseph Jr which was set up to look into the conduct of 5 Supreme Court Judges, the King on 4 October 19888 ordered the dismissal of Supreme Court Judges Tan Sri Wan Suleiman and Datuk George Seah.


In the criminal case of PP -v- Dato Yap Peng, the Supreme Court ccame to the decision that section 418A was unconstitutional on the ground that it violated Article 121(1) of the Constitution, which then provided that the judicial power of the Federation was vested in the two High Courts and such inferior courts as might be provided by federal law. The Supreme Court in that case had amongst others this to say:- “...judicial power to transfer cases from a subordinate court of competent jurisdiction as presently provided by s. 418A cannot be conferred to any organ of government other than the judiciary...” Judicial power broadly defined means “the power every sovereign authority must of necessity have to decide controversies between the subjects, of between itself and its subjects whether the right relates to life, liberty or property”, and this power rightly should and must be vested in the third arm of the government, the judiciary.

But alas, the Barisan National who had more than 2/3 majority in the Dewan Rakyat and also the Dewan Negara easily was very easily able to amend Article 121 of Federal Constitution, removing the judicial power vested in the courts. Thereafter, the High Courts have such jurisdiction and powers as may be conferred by or under federal law. This means that the court’s jurisdiction can now be determined no longer by the courts themselves, but by the legislature. The amendment has the effect of allowing  parliament to enact legislation limiting  or prohibiting judicial review - and over this past 22 years there has been many such amendments to laws that prevent the court from reviewing Ministers and/or government decisions.


Tun Hamid Omar, who chaired the First Tribunal that recomended the removal of Tun Salleh Abas as Lord President,  then became the Lord President on 10 November 1988. It is interesting to note that Tun Hamid Omar was apparently at the meeting of judges that decided on the sending of the letter to the King and State Rulers.This was followed with  Eusoff Chin, who sat in the Second Tribunal being appointed as the head of the Malaysian Judiciary.

During this period, there were many controversies which included the infamous Ayer Molek case, the “Poison Pen Letter” in early 1996 which contained 112 allegations comprising of 39 charges of corruption, 21 of abuse of power and 52 of misconduct, immoral and other indiscretions, the Chief Justice holidaying with a lawyer, the disclosure by an an High Court Judge that he received direction (or was that advice?) about a case before him by the then Chief Justice and  the greatly discussed cases of Lim Guan Eng and  Anwar Ibrahim. A perusal of past issues of Aliran Monthly would enlighten the reader about these issues.

After the 1988 Crisis, after the Mahathir led assault on the Judiciary, the Judiciary  rather than attempting to regain its loss in stature and independence wrongly focused its attacks on the Malaysian Bar and lawyers. The Malaysian Bar who had been steadfast in their struggle for  rebuilding of public confidence and the independence of  the Malaysian judiciary throughout the crisis and thereafter, became the focus of attack during this period. First, there was Manjeet Singh Dillon, the then Secretary of the Bar Council, who was cited for contempt for an affidavit he affirmed on behalf of the Bar Council. Thereafter, in the courts many lawyers were being threatened with contempt and/or cited for contempt.


Thereafter, Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin was appointed the head of the Malaysian Judiciary and there was hope that under his leadership, the Malaysian Judiciary would travel the road to regain the quality and stature it once had in the period before 1988. But then hopes were shattered bit by bit. One of the Practice Directions issued towards the end of his term also  has the effect of further withering the right of access to a lawyer. After retirement,  almost immediately, he went and joined  a law firm in the first half of 2003 - this sparked out public discussion and debate as to whether this is proper and its consequence to the public perception of the independence of the Judiciary. The Malaysian Bar felt that there should be a “cooling off period” at the very least, whilst some even felt that retired senior members of the Judiciary (especially heads of the Judiciary) should not take up positions in law firms and/or other companies. The government’s response was to look into amending the Judges Code of Ethics 1994 to include possibly post-retirement. conduct of judges. Despite all that public comments, Dzaiddin continued as consultant in that law firm.

Now we have a new Chief Justice, but it would be premature to judge him one way or the other.


Article 125 of the Federal Constitution also gives the power to the Prime Minister to initiate proceedings for the removal of judges. If the Prime Minister represents to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that a judge ought to be removed, “...then the Yang di-Pertuan Agung shall appoint a tribunal..” which will make recommendation to remove or not to remove a particular judge. By the usage of the word “shall” it seems that the Yang di-Pertuan has no choice in the matter but to set up a tribunal. Mahathir, by  removing the head of the Judiciary and 2 Supreme Court Judges, had sent a clear message to the judiciary that could be simply  stated as “...if you do not do things according to my will, then you too will be moved..” That removal of judges clearly showed that it is not just a possibility and/or a threat but can be come a reality if you don’t behave as you should. The incidents of 1988 has left a deep-seated fear in many of our judges, and over the years since we see that only a few have been able to surmount that fear and have decided judiciously without fear and favour especially in cases involving the government and/or personalities and companies with links to the government.

Prior to the 1988 Judicial Crisis of 1988, the chairperson of the Malaysian Bar and other senior lawyers were consulted informally by the Lord President on the suitability of candidates before he made recommendation for appointment as judges, but after that this practice stopped.

Then in 1994 the Federal Constitution was amended to allow for the appointment of Judicial Commissioners (sort of ‘probationary judges’) who had all the powers of the judge but without the any security of tenure, which is a safeguard required to protect and ensure the independence of the judiciary. These Judicial Commissioners are appointed on contract for an initial term of two years, and if found ‘satisfactory’ the recommendation would be made by the Chief Justice (or Lord President as it was known before) to the Prime Minister.

In the July 2003 issue of the Malaysian Bar’s official newsletter, Infoline, Datuk Param Cumaraswamy, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers,  was reported as saying that the recent “...promotions of Augustine Paul, Arifin Jaka and Pajan Sungh Gill will be perceived by the public as a reward for having ‘delivered’” Likewise, the appointment of Hamid Omar and later Eusoff Chin as heads of the Judiciary was also possibly  perceived by the public as a reward. Public perception.

An extraordinary General Meeting of the Malaysian Bar has been called for on 4 October 2003 to discuss this important aspect of judicial appointments and other  related matters.


In my opinion, Mahathir believed that the Executive must lead and all others follow. He seem to have not grasped the importance of the doctrine of separation of power and/or the need for a strong and independent judiciary. Similarly as the head of UMNO, the dominant party in the Barisan National coalition which had always enjoyed more than 2/3 majority in the Dewan Rakyat and also the Dewan Negara (both together with the Agong being the Legislative), Mahathir effectively also had control of the Legislative. In his time as prime minister, Dr Mahathir has successfully removed and/or weakened all possible checks and balances including the Agung and the Judiciary.

There has been an erosion in the powers of the Malaysian Judiciary, particularly with the 1988 Constitution amendment which withdrew judicial power which was previously expressedly vested in the hands of the Judiciary only.

From Independence until the 1988 Judicial Crisis, the stature, quality and independence of the Malaysian Judiciary  was highly acclaimed but ever since then there has been an erosion, in reality or at least from the perception of the man in street. Public confidence in the Malaysian Judiciary has been on a decline, to the extend that many a person who may have had a legitimate cause of action against the government and/or  persons, bodies  and companies associated with certain personalities in the executive have not come to the courts to pursue their claims.

Dr Mahathir, as Prime Minister, as provided for in the Federal Constitution plays a very important role in the appointment of the Chief Justice (or Lord President as it was then known), and also in the appointment of the other Judges.  In the past 22 years as Prime Minister, he has naturally had an effect on the Malaysian Judiciary be it in terms of the membership and composition of the judiciary. After all, all judges are appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agung, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister. Other than  for the appointment Chief Justice , the Prime Minister has a duty to consult Chief Justice and/or  the heads of the different courts depending as to which court the judge is being appointed to. All the Prime Minister has to do is consult, but the Yang di-Pertuan Agung apparently from the words used has no choice but  to act on the advice of the Prime Minister. He chose the “suitable” ones, but then some of these judges proudly has from time to time demonstrated rare courage through their decisions, and alas now may be considered “un-suitable” in the eyes of the Prime Minister.

But then, the Judiciary is also to be blamed. Judges, and when the accept this office they must put aside all these preferences, bias and prejudices and uphold justice without fear or favor. They must not be pro or anti Government, only pro the Constitution and pro the law. They must not be pro the big companies or pro the small man in the street, only pro justice, pro human rights. They must not bother about tomorrow, about possible repercussions from the powerful, about their chances of elevation to higher courts and judicial office. They must never forget the oath that they have taken which includes “...I will faithfully discharge my judicial duties in that office, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to Malaysia [not the Prime Minister, not the Executive, not the government], and will preserve, protect and defend its Constitution....”

The words of recommendation in the Justice In Jeopardy: Malaysia 2000 Report prepared by an international mission led by the International Bar Association must be taken heed by the Judiciary which, amongst others, stated :-

“We recommend that the judiciary does all in its power, in the wider interest of justice, to counter the harshness of repressive legislation  and overbearing action on the part of the executive. That is the role of the judiciary when faced with repression no matter where it comes from...In the present situation and in light of the experiences of 1988, this will require great courage. Even still, we consider it essential if the reputation of the judicial system in Malaysia is to be restored to what it was and what it should be.”

We, the ordinary citizens of Malaysia, is also to be blamed for what has happened to our Judiciary for we have gone election after election to the ballot box and returned the Barisan National government with more than 2/3 majority, thus enabling them to amend our Federal Constitution and  during the Mahathir era  some of these  amendments have contributed to state of our Malaysian judiciary as it  is today.

19 September 2003

Iskandar of Johor

Days as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia (1980s)

In 1988, also serving in his capacity as the Yang-Di Pertuan Agong, the Lord President of the Federal Court Tun Salleh Abas was sacked by the Agong in what led to the 1988 Malaysian constitutional crisis.[110] However, observers suggested a remarkably warm relationship[77] between then-Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad with the Agong, both of whom shared common resentment against the chief justice, Salleh Abas. In 1973, Tunku Iskandar was convicted of assault and was sentenced to six months imprisonment, of which Salleh Abas served as the public prosecutor hearing the case. As the public prosecutor, Salleh had appealed to the chief justice, Raja Azlan Shah (now the Sultan of Perak), for handing down a heavier sentence for Tunku Iskandar, which naturally earned his wrath.[20][111][112] The sacking of the Lord President, was however not without controversy, given the alleged manner in which the Agong and Prime Minister had handled the matter–including an incident which the Agong had refused to forgive the Lord President in spite of Salleh's willingness to offer his apology to the Agong, which he turned down.

Allegations of criminal misconduct

In 1972, Tunku Mahmud was charged for causing assault with a mace to two men for overtaking his car and was convicted the following year.[70] A year later, reports also surfaced another similar attack upon a young couple, when Tunku Iskandar, together with his bodyguard, attacked them with chemicals and a mace after having offended him. Another alleged incident took place at about this time when Tunku Mahmud chained up two policemen in a dog kennel for a day after having angered him.[71]
Five years later, Tunku Mahmud was charged and convicted of manslaughter[72] after shooting and killing a man near his private helicopter whom he took to be a smuggler. In both cases, his father, Sultan Ismail, intervened and granted official pardons to Tunku Mahmud.[73][74][75] Similarly, his eldest son, Tunku Ibrahim Ismail, was convicted in the 1980s of shooting dead a man in a nightclub during a feud, but was quickly pardoned.[76]
In 1987, Sultan Iskandar was accused of causing the death of a golf caddy in Cameron Highlands by assault, following an incident in which the golf caddy laughed when the Sultan missed a hole. Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia's first Prime Minister, pointed out that the Sultan (then the Agong) could not be prosecuted due to the immunity that was accorded to the rulers, yet he condemned Sultan Iskandar's actions at the same time. In the end the matter was let off without much public attention. The brother of the caddy – who also suffered injuries from the incident, being distressed from what he saw, subsequently ran amok in Kuala Lumpur and had to be quarantined in a mental hospital.

 Gomez Incident

Sultan of Johor
DYMM Sultan Iskandar Johor

Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia
Reign26 April 1984 – 25 April
Sultan of Johor
DYMM Sultan Iskandar Johor

Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia
Reign26 April 1984 – 25 April

The Tun Salleh Saga - an open reply to Dr Mahathir

Dr Mahathir, I read with considerable interest your blog on the Tun Salleh Saga. To a certain degree, I must confess, I am happy for you have obviously regained your memory after having a momentary lapse of the same during the proceeding of the Royal Commission on the Linggam tape.
I must confess that I was not moved to post anything about the Tun Salleh issue as everybody and his dog has apparently written about it. However, after having read your latest boot-leg version, I am compelled to write this reply, just to put things on record and proper perspective.
It is quite obvious that you have mastered the fine art of manipulation. When everything else fails, what better than to stoke racial sentiment in order to gain support. That was what you were doing in Johore Bahru recently when you quite irresponsible pointed out that the Malays are the ones who would lose out if the IDR project were to continue. You than quickly followed it up in Japan when you reminded the Malays to unite and be strong because, according to you, other races are now asking for many things and questioning Malay rights. Samuel Johnson's "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" would normally be a cliche to repeat, but in your case, I would make an exception. Just change the word "patriotism" to "racialism" and you would, hopefully, catch my drift.
When the issue of an apology to Salleh Abas was started by Zaid Ibrahim, I remember you were quoted as saying that Salleh Abas was sacked by the tribunal and so an apology should be sought from the tribunal. How very convenient of you DrM. Of course you had conveniently overlooked the fact that the tribunal was established at your advice as the then Prime Minister. And so now, in your blog, you have revealed the truth. The truth, according to you, is that the King had wanted Salleh Abas be removed because His Majesty was angry with Salleh Abas' letter complaining about His Majesty's renovation work. So, are you now blaming the King, may I ask?
That is the first question which came across my mind while reading your post. The second question is this. Since when have you become a royalist so much so that you were almost paralysingly subservient to the King? The King had wanted Salleh Abas, the Lord President, sacked because of a letter over some noises made in a renovation work, and you followed it up with a tribunal established under our primary law, the Federal Constitution? You wanted us to believe that you, the then Prime Minister, the very same Prime Minister who amended the Federal Constitution to curb the powers of the King and the Malay Rulers, had agreed to establish the tribunal at the behest of the King? Since when has Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the fearless Prime Minister, who took away the necessity for Royal assents to any bill of law before it could effectively be the law of the country by amending the Federal Constitution, had suddenly be so subservient to the King in relation to the sacking of Salleh Abas?
The third question is glaring to people in the know. It is of course not there for every supporters of yours to see, as we could well surmise from the majority of the comments made in your blog on the issue. The question is this. Why was it that Salleh Abas was not charged over THAT letter? If what you said was true, why wasn't Salleh Abas charged for writin such a letter to the King and carbon copying it to all the Rulers? WHY? If the King had wanted Salleh Abas sacked for being rude to His Majesty, why is it that Salleh Abas not charged for being rude to our King? W.H.Y.??? Why is it that only now, 20 years later, suddenly, this letter has appeared and become an issue? Is it a case of you forgetting about that letter in 1988, just as you have forgotten about some events during the Linggam tape hearing, and suddenly rediscovering your memory last week about the same letter? Coincidently, your former secretary, Matthias Chang, has spoken about this letter in his blog sometime in the past weeks. Coincidently, I wrote.
By the way, during the constitutional crisis caused by your beligerent attitude towards the King and the Malay Rulers, I remember the state mass media, the newspapers and RTM, had even belittled the King and the Malays Rulers. The whole propaganda machines were used to smear the King and the Malay Rulers. Pictures of their palaces and mansions were shown on TV and in the newspapers. Stories about their wrongdoings were splashed in newspapers. Even Sultan of Kedah's house in Penang did not escape your propaganda machine. RTM would proceed to air old Malay movies about how stupid the Malay Rulers in ancient days were. Films like Nujum Pak Belalang, Hang Tuah and Dang Anum were aired just to shape the people's thoughts about how bad the King and the Malay Rulers were or could be. And yet, you now want us to believe that you were just doing what the King had wanted you to do by establishing the tribunal against Salleh Abas? Stretching your argument that Salleh Abas had to go because the King said so, why didn't you sack yourself, your whole cabinet and everybody else who had then partaken in the whole process of smearing the good name and dignity of our King and the Malay Rulers? Why only Salleh Abas?
DrM, sometimes, one's stupidity is most glaring in one's thought that everybody else is stupid!
You then mention in your blog that it was your opinion that Salleh Abas had committed wrongdoings and that he was not fit to be a Judge. If that was the case, may I respectfully ask why is it that you had not deemed it fit to establish a tribunal against a certain Lord President who was photographed with a certain lawyer oversea? Wouldn't that constitute a wrongdoing? That fact was, I am sure, known to you as it was widely discussed in the media during your premiership. It was even investigated by the ACA. Or how about the ACA investigation which showed that a certain lawyer had written a certain judgment for a certain Judge? Wouldn't that be a wrongdoing which would, if substantiated, render the Judge unfit to continue be a Judge? Why only Salleh Abas? Why not these Judges? Or is it a case of you having forgotten what they did just as you have forgotten several events during the Linggam tape proceedings, again?
You now charged, as you have always charged, that the judiciary, had interfered in the administration of the country. Your disdain for the law, lawyers and judiciary is well documented Dr M. I remember clearly in one speech, you liken the lawyers to vultures. But of course, you would now say it was all in jest. Your contempt for the law and judiciary, every time the judiciary made a decision against you or your government is almost peerless. You would deem such decision as interference with the administration. Although you know that the administration consists of 3 different, but essential, arms, namely, the legislature, executive and judiciary, you failed miserably to understand their respective functions and duties. The phrase "check and balance" was missing from your administrative dictionary which was probably reprinted with an express instruction from you to delete the same.
Thus, history will show that you were so upset and angry with the judiciary that you had instigated another Constitutional amendment to take away "judicial powers" from the judiciary! May I point out Dr M, that Malaysia, would be the only country in the whole Commonwealth ( I say Commonwealth because I am not accustomed to non-Commonwealth systems) whose judiciary does not have judicial powers unless the legislature says so. Coincidentally of course, who controlled the legislature? That was, and I surmise, still is, your idea of a democracy.
Remember what I said above about stupidity? Let me repeat it. One's stupidity is most glaring in one's thought that everybody else is stupid!
You some what denies that the sacking of Salleh Abas had anything to do with the UMNO 11 appeal which was then fixed by Salleh Abas to be heard by a full bench of 9 Judges on 13.6.1988. Events will show, at least on a balance of probability, otherwise. Salleh Abas was served with a letter of suspension on 27.5.1988. Abdul Hamid Omar became the Acting Lord President. I will come back to this character later in this post. On that very day, namely, 27.5.1988, on which Salleh Abas was suspended, Abdul Hamid Omar, as Acting Lord President, acting without any application by any party named in the UMNO 11 appeal, adjourned the appeal to a date to be fixed later. Why? For what reason? Why the haste? Nobody knows. That appeal was later fixed for hearing on 8.8.1988 before only 5 judges comprising of 3 Supreme Court Judges, including Abdul Hamid Omar himself and 2 High Court Judges. Not 9 as originally fixed by Salleh Abas. How could a valid decision by a Lord President, which was made prior to his suspension, be reversed by an Acting Lord President is quite beyond me or my intelect to comprehend, let alone answer. And quite why the appeal was to be heard by a corum of 3 Supreme Court Judges and 2 High Court Judges, instead of all Supreme Court Judges, is also beyond my tiny brain's ability to understand. I am sure you wouldn't remember this fact Dr M. Otherwise, I am sure you would have stated it in your post. I am sure.
If the sacking had nothing to do with the UMNO 11 appeal, why, may I ask, is that the first official act of the Acting Lord President was to postpone the hearing of that particular appeal? Why did he then proceed to overturn a valid act of the Lord President, who was then still a Lord President, albeit the fact that he was suspended? Why?
Salleh Abas made a statement to the press after his suspension. In the statement, he alluded to a meeting on 25.5.1998 with you, in the presence of the Chief Secretary, Salehuddin Mohamad, where you allegedly told him (Salleh Abas) that he was to be removed because, among others, of his bias in the UMNO 11 appeal. Salehuddin Mohamad was a witness at the tribunal. He said he was taking notes during the said meeting. While he could remember writing down only 2 matters in the note book during the meeting, namely, Salleh Abas' speech and his letter to the King (about your attack of the judiciary and not about the renovation issue), he only managed to say that he cannot remember that you had mentioned the UMNO case during the meeting when asked by the tribunal members. If he was so sure that he only took down notes about the aforesaid 2 matters in his notebook, why then he could not EXPRESSLY deny that you had mentioned about the UMNO case during the said meeting? Why can't he remember? And, in a show of embarrassing shallowness on the part of the tribunal, it FAILED to ask Salehuddin to produce the notebook! Why? It would appear that your Chief Secretary was clearly suffering from the same disease as yours namely, partial and momentary lapse of memory.
On the balance of probability therefore, your contention that the sacking of Salleh Abas did not have anything to do with the UMNO case under appeal is flawed, to say the least. Why don't you state all these facts in your blog Dr M? And let the people who read it to judge the matter after having been fed with al relevant facts. Not with facts which you think are relevant. Not with facts which you choose to remember for your own purpose and objectives.
I have reserved my comment about Abdul Hamid Omar. Now is the time form me to say something about him. This was the man who was effectively Salleh Abas' subordinate. He became Acting Lord President when Salleh Abas was suspended. He was also next in line to be the Lord President, in the event Salleh Abas was sacked. History will show that he did replace Salleh Abas after his sacking. How could he then head the tribunal? He was obviously conflicted out from being in the tribunal. Justice must not only be done, but must also be seen to be done. Haven't you heard of that? Or have you forgotten about it? Or is it a case that you did not really care?
Salleh Abas was then charged, among others, for writing a letter to the King dated 26.3 1988. For the benefit of those readers who don't really know the facts, this was not the letter complaining about the renovation. As I had said it, the renovation letter was never mentioned in any of the charges. The letter dated 26.3.1988 was a letter by Salleh Abas to the King to inform the King that Dr M had been attacking the judiciary. I will not touch on the merit or demerit of this letter. But what Dr M had failed to realise, or rather, what Dr M had ignored was the fact that this letter was written by Salleh Abas after all the Judges had a meeting on 25.3.1988. Even the Chairman of the tribunal, the aforesaid Abdul Hamid Omar, was present during the said meeting. In more ways than one, the said letter was a collective result of the Judges' meeting, including that of Abdul Hamid Omar, the Chairman of the tribunal. Two questions arise here Dr M. Firstly, stretching your contention that Salleh Abas had to be removed because of that letter as well as the renovation letter to its own logical conclusion, why didn't you suspend all the Judges who attended the meeting of 25.3.1988 and institute the same proceeding, with a view of dismissing all of them? That would be its reasonable conclusion as the letter was a collective result. Secondly, how could Abdul Hamid Omar, be a part of the tribunal, let alone its Chairman when he was obviously a potential witness? But then again, the 2nd question is borne out of a legal point, and so I don't expect you to understand it, let alone grasp it.
Allow me to also set out the exact facts and events around the same time Salleh Abas was charged. In 1986, you, as Home Minister cancelled the work permit of 2 Asian Wall Street Journal journalists in Malaysia. They brought the matter to the Court and the Supreme Court held that your action was illegal and therefore invalid. You were upset. IN TIME magazine (issue of 24.11.1986), you expressed your displeasure. Contempt proceedings were brought against you by the opposition. You escaped as the proceedings were dismissed by the Court. However, the learned Judge remarked in his judgment that you were confused at the doctrine of separation of powers. Later, in a speech to law students, the same Judge said that the process of appointing senators should be by way of an election. You mistook, as usual, this speech as a challenge and interference in politics when all the learned Judge was doing was expressing his own personal opinion over a matter which was not entirely political but also legal as well. Of course you then had to accuse "certain Judges" as interfering with politics. You then began a series of unwarranted attacks against the judiciary at a level and intensity as yet unseen in Malaysian history. What would you do if you were Salleh Abas, the Lord President? Take all the attacks lying down while waiting for pension?
You failed to appreciate his duty as the Lord President. He was the chief of the judiciary, an essential branch of the country's administration system. AS much as you were the head of the executive, so was Salleh Abas the head of the judiciary. He had to defend the very institution which he then headed. He convened a meeting of Judges on 25.3.1988 and collectively they decided to write a letter to the King about all the attacks leveled against the judiciary. What was so wrong with that? Why, you wanted him to lodge a police report over the matter?
By the way, in the present climate when every other Malay politicain is trying to be more Islam than every other Malay and his pussy cats, you of course forgot to mention one of the charges against Salleh Abas in your blog for obvious reason. The charge was that Salleh Abas had advocated the acceptance of the Islamic legal system in Malaysia and had re-stated the law along Islamic legal principles with against the multi-racial and multi-religious character of our country. Why didn't you mention this in your blog? You forgot? Or is it simply a case of you being afraid of losing the Malay support among your Malay readers if that was published by you in your blog?
Dr M, I am not your supporter. Nor am I Anwar Ibrahim or Abdullah Badawi's supporter. I am a supporter of truth. In this matter, nobody would know the truth. But if you are persuading people that your version is the truth, I would at least, expect you to lay out the whole story. And let the people, and history, be the judge.
Do you know what the beauty of the Common Law (which we practise)? The beauty is that it is a set of law common to all the people. That means, when a matter is wrong or right, ultimately, the common people would know. The common people. Me, and your readers.
Kind regards,

The Tun Salleh Saga – an open reply to Dr. Mahathir

June 10, 2008
- By Art Harun -

Mahathir tells his part of the story in Salleh Abas saga

Salleh Abas sacked for noise pollution complaint, says Dr M

By Debra Chong
KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 — Tun Salleh Abas was sacked as chief judge in 1988 for complaining to other Rulers about noisy repairs at the King’s private house, according to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The ex-PM revealed it in a tell-all memoir out today.
In his first autobiography, the 84-year-old denied removing Salleh out of revenge when the court declared Umno illegal following the bruising Umno elections of 1987 when Dr Mahathir narrowly beat Kelantan prince, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
Dr Mahathir was prime minister from 1981 to 2003 and has long been blamed for clipping the judiciary’s independence.
His successor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, all but apologised for the ruling Barisan Nasional government’s part in the event, dubbed the “judiciary’s darkest hour”.
Shortly after the 2008 general elections, the Abdullah administration agreed to pay cash compensation to Salleh and five Supreme Court judges who were also fired for defending their boss.
In “A Doctor In The House: The Memoirs of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad”, he attributed it to the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong’s unhappiness with Salleh after the latter wrote a letter of complaint to the King, which was also sent to the other Malay Rulers.
Dr Mahathir said the Agong had showed him Salleh’s letter “complaining about the noise that was being made in the course of repairing the Agong’s private residence near Tun Salleh’s own home” during an official meeting in early 1988.
Malaysia’s King at that time was Sultan Mahmud Iskandar Al-Haj ibni Ismail Al-Khalidi of Johor who ruled from 1984 to 1989.
“The Agong felt insulted — it was not in keeping with Malay custom to write a letter of complaint to a Ruler, much less the King,” Dr Mahathir said in the chapter “The Judiciary”.
The King’s displeasure grew after learning copies of the letter was sent to the other Malay Rulers, in what the monarch saw as a move to “pressure and embarrass him”, the fourth prime minister noted.
“He then insisted that I remove Tun Salleh as Lord President, a decision he noted in the margin of Tun Salleh’s letter,” he said.
However, he did not furnish any proof in his autobiography to back what he wrote.
Dr Mahathir insisted there was no link between the Umno elections and Salleh’s shocking sacking as Lord President.
“It was also significant that it was not Tun Salleh but Tan Sri Harun who delivered the remarkable judgment that the entire Umno party was an illegal organisation,” he said.
He noted that in most cases where the federal government was suing or being sued, Salleh had generally ruled in favour of the government.
But Dr Mahathir said the King’s “annoyance only increased when Tun Salleh wrote a second letter, this time complaining about government interference with the Judiciary. Again, he sent copies to the other Rulers”.
Dr Mahathir also said he had tried to offer Salleh a way out that would allow him save face.
“On 27 May 1988 at a meeting in my office, I asked Tun Salleh to consider resigning instead of being removed from his position... Tun Salleh agreed and offered his resignation in a letter dated the following day,” he said in the book.
But, Salleh changed his mind about resigning and withdrew the letter the same day.
Salleh was suspended from his post two months later and then High Court of Malaya Chief Justice, Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Omar, was appointed his stand-in.
Salleh was taken before a tribunal and found guilty of misconduct.

Tunku Abdul Rahman 1988 - "Biarlah Saya Mati Dalam Perjuangan"

Now why did Tun Salleh Abas never mention about his first letter?

Tun Dr Mahathir in his latest post mentioned the existence of the first letter which very much annoyed the then Agong. That was the basis of his removal. Since the Agong appointed him in 1984, it was the same Agong who wanted to remove him in 1988.
I reckon, Tun Salleh’s pride and ego had clouded his good sense of judgement. This can be read in the opening remarks of his book ‘May Day for Justice’. Where he stated that judges are above all suspicions and should be treated with great respect. In other words, nobody can criticise, let alone sack a judge. His oversized ego had prevented him to testify in front of the Tribunal. That was the best opportunity for him to defend himself. But reading between the lines in his book, I find that Tun Salleh was in the opinion that since he made no wrong, he must not be subjected to the questions from the Tribunal!
What an ego this person has! What you think do not matter! What is important was that you must cooperate with the Tribunal under the instruction of your Boss – the then Agong. What is more disappointing was that Tun Salleh Abas never revealed the existence of the first letter. This is an omission of a valuable piece of evidence. But in his determined effort to prove his innocence, he had knowingly failed to mentioned the said letter. Ulterior motive? Desperate attempt to side step the issue? Obviously.
The judiciary was indeed tarnished. But by the egoistical actions of Tun Salleh Abas himself. He had it good all this while. Even when he was found guilty by the tribunal and sacked by the Agong which he had insulted, he still received pensions. No other persons have received this kind of treatment before. Ask any other people whom had held a government’s post and was found guilty by the courts. Did they receive pension from due to their government post after that? He even became an ADUN in Terengganu after winning in a general election. Now, he had been given an ex -gratia payments out of the tax payers’ money. He had it good indeed.
I shall not write more on this. Curious readers should just read Tun Dr Mahathir’s latest posting.
For further readings, please read;
  1. Tun Salleh Abas – The story behind the story
  2. Tun Salleh Abas – The other story
  3. Tun Salleh Abas should not throw a red herring
Happy reading! And have a good weekend!
P.S: Tun Salleh, I halalkan the ex-gratia money you received.

Mahathir Letter to "The Sun" on Tun Salleh Abas and Allegation by Datuk Shafee Yahya

Dr Mahathir : Call for appology Stupid
Letter to "The Sun" on Tun Salleh Abas and Allegation by Datuk Shafee Yahya

Dr Mahathir: Call for apology is stupid
AS I had anticipated, my comment on (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department) Datuk Zaid Ibrahim’s suggestion that the government should apologise for the action taken against Tun Salleh Abas would draw accusations against me for my alleged misdeeds during my tenure of office.

I regard this as an attempt to shut my mouth should I find occasion to criticise the present government. It is always about "You were worse when you headed the government," even if it is obvious that I had not done badly.

(Datuk) Param Cumaraswamy’s letter (theSun, April 2) falls in that category. He wants to know why action had not been taken against me over the allegations made by Datuk Shafee Yahya (former director-general of the Anti-Corruption Agency) during the Anwar Ibrahim trial.
The statement may be a sworn testimony in court but the accuracy of it cannot be accepted unquestioned. There were omissions and inferences which mislead. Counsel was of course interested in proving that Anwar did not inveigle Shafee into doing something wrong. But during the trial it was revealed that he did get a senior police officer to threaten and intimidate his accusers.

I admit to calling up Shafee to ask him about the raid by the ACA on the office of the director of the Economic Planning Unit. I did that because I received a complaint from the director that the ACA had been very offensive towards him during the raid. He also said that he believed the deputy prime minister and finance minister had set up the whole thing.

I knew that government officers were sometimes overzealous and would overstep or abuse their authority.

I could not verify whether there was any truth in what the EPU director said. Accordingly, I called the director of the ACA to find out what actually happened.

I asked many questions, many more than what he said in court. I also asked him if he had been directed by Datuk Seri Anwar to carry out the raid.

He denied it but he became angry when I asked whether he intended to pursue his investigation. Raising his voice, he accused me of trying to stop him from carrying out his duty. Angrily, he said that he was a senior civil service officer and that I had no right to question him about his work.
I was shocked at his loud accusation against me. No civil servant however senior had spoken to me like that. I was rendered speechless.

These exchanges were carried out in my office. No other person was present. No notes were taken, nor was there any recording, at least by me. So only the two of us would know what really happened or was said.

What he said in court is his version. There is nothing to verify what he said nor is there anything to verify what I say now is wrong. It is a case of his words against mine, sworn testimony notwithstanding. He had obviously omitted his shouted accusations against me. Had what he said in court was all that happened, then it would not have taken more than three minutes. But what he said and what I said took longer than three minutes.

I wonder how counsel knew of what happened in the privacy of my office. Even the Chief Secretary, the only person who was informed by Datuk Shafee could not have told counsel. Obviously it was Shafee who volunteered information. Why did he do this?

I was not a party to the trial of Anwar. If I was to be accused I should at least be heard. But clearly Shafee saw Anwar’s trial as an opportunity to make statements detrimental to my reputation.

Shafee was an angry man and what he said in court was opportunistic and seem to reflect his desire to take revenge against me. I can only assume that this was what motivated him, because what he divulged did not help Anwar much. But it did put me in a very bad light.

As to why this case has not been followed I can only assume that the courts are busy and there are tens of thousands of cases which have yet to be heard. Maybe the fault is with the Attorney General or police. I would not know.

Still I welcome any investigation by impartial people as to the truth or otherwise of what I say in this letter.

As for Param Cumarawamy and Karpal Singh, their hatred of me is well known and apparently has not abated even after I am no longer prime minister.

Many lawyers were angry with me because I had quoted Shakespeare during a cabinet meeting which says, "the first thing we do, we hang the lawyers". I was only joking but they heard of it and believed I meant what I said. The judges also felt unhappy with me.

Besides, I had criticised the judiciary for disregarding the intention or objectives of the laws formulated by the legislative wing but instead interpret them based on the words used. Was I committing a crime for saying this? I was merely stating a fact. Can no one comment on the judiciary at all even when they disregard the interest of the country? In many developed countries it is common for the public to criticise the judiciary.

As for Param, he made libellous remarks about a fellow-Malaysian when he was a member of a United Nations Commission. He should have been hauled before a Malaysian court but he claimed immunity due to his appointment by the UN.

My stand was that his immunity was only with regard to the specific work for the UN. If he breached Malaysian laws on matters not related to this work, then he cannot plead immunity.
His libellous words against a Malaysian individual had nothing to do with his work for the UN. He should therefore be liable, and his immunity could not be invoked. But he got the UN to back him. It was even hinted that if Malaysia prosecuted him, then our case before the International Court of Justice on the issue of the ownership of Sipadan and Ligitan would be jeopardised.

Accordingly I agreed that he should not be prosecuted. Luckily it was only libel. Had Param Cumaraswamy murdered a person, and he claimed immunity, then there would indeed be a miscarriage of justice.

I do not think my recalcitrance over his immunity endeared me to him. Now that I am not a prime minister, he has expressed his delight at saying that I should not criticise anything the present government does because I was guilty of worse.

I maintain that in the case of Tun Salleh Abas I did what was required of me under the Constitution and Malaysia’s laws. I consider the suggestion that I should apologise as frivolous, unwarranted and stupid.

If Param or Karpal is not convinced perhaps they should use their considerable knowledge of the law to shut my mouth.

Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad

The letter is extracted from The Sun Daily

Malaysia: A Bit Of History: Mahathir-Anwar Ibrahim Feud

Malaysia: The Feud

How Mahathir and Anwar became embroiled in a clash that threatens to send Malaysia into upheaval

To Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has a passion for flying and sailing, Malaysia's annual air and boat show on the island of Langkawi was an event he hated to miss--even as his nation stumbled through an economic crisis. So Mahathir decided to hold the Dec. 3, 1997, meeting of the Malaysian Cabinet on the island, instead of in the capital of Kuala Lumpur.
But by the time he arrived at the elegant Gunung Raya hilltop retreat, Mahathir was in for a jolt. His next-in-command--Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim--had virtually concluded business without him, according to sources knowledgeable about the meeting. In what amounted to an economic coup, the cabinet had decided to adopt an austerity plan similar to those imposed on neighboring Thailand and Indonesia by the International Monetary Fund. The plan would slash public spending and halt infrastructure projects championed by Mahathir.
The new policy was a stunning rebuke to Mahathir. Since the onset of the Asian crisis five months earlier, he had been railing against a perceived Western conspiracy and insisting Malaysia could maintain its breakneck growth. Mahathir's reaction: He humbly agreed to go along with his Cabinet's decision--but on the very next day undermined it by announcing Malaysia would proceed with a controversial $2.7 billion rail and pipeline project. Alarmed investors immediately sent the ringgit to a new low.
Those intrigue-filled days in December were a prelude to what has become Malaysia's worst political crisis in nearly three decades. Although Mahathir and Anwar had long had differences over economic stewardship and management of political spoils, that rift widened as Asia's financial crisis wore on and the two leaders worked increasingly at cross purposes. Ultimately, the dispute led Mahathir to clamp controls on the currency and jail his deputy, casting himself as an international rogue.
Today, the clash threatens to send Malaysia into upheaval. Anwar, a central player in the old patronage system, has now emerged as a hero of the swelling reformasi movement, which advocates a more open society and economy. He goes on trial Nov. 2 on 10 charges of sodomy and corruption. A conviction could turn the protests into an ugly confrontation.
How did the two men end up so militantly opposed to each other? Over the past month, BUSINESS WEEK interviewed dozens of Malaysians from both camps, including Anwar prior to his arrest, prominent pro-Mahathir businessmen, informed academics, and Anwar associates. Together, they draw portraits of the one-time allies and their battle to control the future of Malaysia Inc., an economic model that uses patronage to speed economic development.
HEIR APPARENT. It is a tragic spectacle. Just a few years ago, Mahathir was poised to retire from politics as the prickly but nonetheless brilliant and erudite architect of a model developing nation. And Anwar, the anointed successor, would smoothly take the helm of the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) and lead a modern, politically stable 21st-century economy. Former Islamic radical Anwar, 51, was the more Western-friendly of the two, often quoting Shakespeare and hobnobbing with the moguls of international finance. Mahathir, 72, has long taken a confrontational stance toward the West. But like Anwar, he viewed foreign investment as key to Malaysia's economy and advocated freer trade within Asia.
Both also were savvy politicians who steered choice deals to their allies in the business community. Just last year, foreign investors criticized the government's handling of insider deals by Malaysia Resources Corp., a media and infrastructure company controlled by Anwar allies.
Still, Anwar had a reform agenda. In recent years, he increasingly advocated the rule of law and more transparency. But until the crisis erupted, he was willing to bide his time until it was his turn to run the country. ''He was that close to power,'' says Anwar's wife, Azizah Ismail, holding her thumb and forefinger close together. ''He was tolerating a lot.''
Perhaps the key difference between the two leaders was their outlook on the world. Anwar quickly realized that the meltdowns of Thailand and Indonesia were caused by excessive borrowing, overbuilding, and big trade imbalances--and that Malaysia's situation was similar. Malaysia didn't yet need an IMF bailout, but he feared its economy would implode without swift action. While this surely would hurt his business allies, Anwar was willing to have Malaysia absorb economic pain first and rebuild for the future.
Mahathir looked at it differently. Unlike the ascendant Anwar, he was in the twilight of his career--and feared for his legacy. While Anwar hinted he wanted to end patronage, Mahathir genuinely thought the system he proudly calls ''Malaysia Incorporated'' was a legitimate model for developing nations. A handful of wealthy businessmen are singled out for privileges and given the role of creating jobs, implementing big projects, and keeping the economy and the ruling party humming. Then wealth trickles down from Mahathir's chosen few to the many. ''We view Malaysia as a corporation, and the shareholders in the government are companies,''says Mustapha Mohamed, the new No.2 at the Finance Ministry. ''To the extent you help the bigger guys, the smaller guys benefit.'' When Western agencies attacked his system as institutionalized corruption, Mahathir ''was quite angry,'' says Francis Yeoh, managing director of YTL Corp. and a longtime Mahathir ally. ''He found it incredibly ! ! hypocritical and unfair.'' Mahathir declined to be interviewed.
When Malaysia was growing 8% to 10% annually, the uneasy alliance worked. But the crisis in Malaysia's financial markets provoked a fury in Mahathir toward the outside world. The feud broke out two days after Mahathir returned from a two-month globe-trotting sabbatical in July, 1997, just as the crisis hit. He began blasting foreigners--and he kept it up for months. He blamed ''international manipulators'' such as financier George Soros and Jewish traders for trying to undo the success of the Muslim Malaysians.
Malaysian officials grew weary of the Mahathir effect on the currency and stock markets. The central Bank Negara tracked the plunges in the ringgit every time Mahathir lashed out, and officials showed him the data. If Mahathir would tone it down, they suggested, the ringgit might stabilize. For a while, he complied.
Meanwhile, Anwar tightened up on money and began urging Mahathir to suspend big infrastructure projects. When Mahathir agreed on Sept. 5 to postpone the $5.3 billion Bakun Dam, a new airport, and plans to build the world's longest building, the market enjoyed the largest one-day surge in over three years. But it fizzled as the crisis deepened.
Mahathir's patience ran out. On Nov. 21, he set up the National Economic Action Council to devise remedies. It included Mahathir, Anwar, economic adviser Daim Zainuddin, and prominent economists and business leaders. Council members quickly squared off over the best cure for the crisis: the IMF's austerity medicine or the easy money and massive government spending Mahathir preferred. ''We argued back and forth, back and forth,'' recalls Zainal Aznam Yusof, deputy director of the Institute for Strategic & International Studies, a government think tank. But as the months wore on, ''we became convinced that you cannot go on with tightening monetary policy. You might push the economy over the edge.''
Then came a move that rocked market confidence and drove a deeper wedge between Anwar and Mahathir: the bailout of big infrastructure developer Renong. Headed by longtime Mahathir associate Halim Saad, it was precisely the sort of company Mahathir was determined to save. Renong had built some of Malaysia's biggest projects but was choking under a pile of debt. In a complex transaction that left minority shareholders in the cold, Renong subsidiary United Engineers Malaysia (UEM) paid a stiff premium to buy out the parent company. Analysts suspected that Mahathir allies benefited, a charge Renong denied.
Anwar, miffed at the way the bailout was handled, ordered regulators to investigate. UEM was found to have broken disclosure rules, but the punishment was light. ''Within two weeks of the Renong-UEM deal being announced, it was all over'' for Malaysia's stock market, says a local securities trader.
Five days after the Renong bailout came the meeting on Langkawi. Anwar, having just met with IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus and acting on the advice of his central bank governor, Ahmad Don, had concluded that the IMF formula of tight monetary policy and government austerity was right. The Cabinet agreed. When Mahathir arrived, the virtual IMF program was a fait accompli.
''MORAL OBJECTION.'' But local business leaders were growing unhappy with the effects of Anwar's policies. So was Mahathir. ''The intensity of business collapses and bank collapses was like tenpins falling every day,'' says YTL's Yeoh. ''He couldn't stand it.'' Adds another prominent businessman: ''He doesn't believe in bankruptcies.He has a moral objection to them.''
The attempts to get around Anwar's IMF-style budget grew. According to Anwar associates, Daim called the CEO of Bank Bumiputra, Abdul Aziz Othman, and asked him to lend $20 million to a company in trouble. After checking with Anwar, these sources say, Aziz told Daim no. Tensions between Daim and Anwar rose. Daim declines to comment on the allegation or other matters related to Anwar. Bank Bumi did not respond to requests for comment.
By February, Mahathir was pushing for more bailouts. Anwar aides contend that the Prime Minister had broached the idea of using Petroliam Nasional (Petronas) to bail out his son Mirzan Mahathir's shipping company, Konsortium Perkapalan, which had trouble servicing its $490 million debt. Both Mirzan and Petronas deny the Prime Minister had anything to do with the $220 million purchase of KP's assets by a Petronas unit. ''I didn't ask him to intervene. I just told him that any businessman faced with this situation will have to sell and pay down the debt,'' says Mirzan, who holds a Wharton MBA.'We believe we are a viable company.''But the deal reminded many Malaysians of Indonesia's Suharto, who fell partly because of his family's greed. In 1994, opposition politicians criticized the stakes Mahathir's sons had in over 200 companies. Now, those concerns were resurfacing. Comparisons with Suharto ''must have upset Dr. Mahathir, even though there are important differences between the two,'' says University of Malaya economist K.S. Jomo.
In April, the Anwar-Mahathir rift grew wider. Speaking in New York at the elite Council on Foreign Relations, Anwar lauded the virtues of ''creative destruction.'' Mahathir would deride that term time and again in speeches months later. Anwar later told Mahathir he was trying to push Malaysia's agenda by calling for reform of the international monetary system. But he did not mince his words in New York about what was going on back home. ''What are meant to be mere crutches often become permanent appendages, spawning a dependency mentality and rendering the public purse a rich feeding ground for all kinds of parasites,'' he said to applause.
Yet while he was away, Anwar got wind of another attempted bailout, this time for Daim pal Tajudin Ramli at Malaysia Airlines. ''The moment my back is turned, they push through this nonsense,'' he told his aides. ''How am I supposed to explain this over here?'' Mahathir denied he was involved. Anwar suggested the Finance Ministry would veto the deal, and it was never done.
Shortly after Anwar returned home, Suharto fell. Mahathir had met with the aging strongman in Cairo on May 14 at the G-15 summit. Mahathir left the meeting speaking of ''foreign parties trying to unseat us both.'' The new Indonesian President, B.J. Habibie, was a friend of Anwar.
ESPIONAGE CHARGES. So was Indonesian newspaper editor Nasir Tamara, who caused a flap on June 2 when he addressed Malaysian scholars, businessmen, and social activists assembled by Anwar's think tank. While he didn't mention Malaysia, Nasir spoke of cronyism and explained how the reformasi movement toppled Suharto. An Anwar aide says Mahathir questioned his deputy about the speech.
By the time the UMNO General Assembly meeting began on June 20, Mahathir had decided to get rid of Anwar--and the open battle began. Information packets given to the 1,900 conference attendees all contained a book alleging homosexual and heterosexual affairs by Anwar. The book, Fifty Reasons Why Anwar Cannot Be Prime Minister, also charged him with spying for a foreign power. Diplomats and other sources say the book could not have been distributed without Mahathir's knowledge.
Anwar's camp returned fire. The leader of the UMNO Youth league, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, criticized the government for ''corruption, collusion, and nepotism.'' Mahathir blasted back the next day, saying that everyone, including Anwar and his allies, had benefited from the state's largesse. Days later, Mahathir announced that Daim would take over management of the economy. Anwar's role was sharply curtailed. At a mention of Daim during an interview with BUSINESS WEEK on June 30, Anwar crossed his arms and visibly stiffened.
By the end of August, Malaysian stocks were down 80% from the previous year. On Sept. 1, Mahathir shocked the world by imposing currency controls. He told Anwar to resign by 5:30 p.m. the following day ''or I'll humiliate you tomorrow,'' according to former Anwar aides. He refused. ''I told him, 'If you resign it's like an admission of guilt,''' Anwar's wife Azizah recalls saying the next day over a lunch where the food went uneaten. Anwar then went to his Finance Ministry office. At 5:30, the power went off at his official residence. At 7, Anwar received a letter from Mahathir saying he had been dismissed.
''I tried to work within the system,'' Anwar told BUSINESS WEEK three days after his ouster. But now, Anwar acted like the outsider. He organized the biggest protest in Malaysia's history on Sept. 20, attended by up to 50,000 people, to call for reform. That day, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II was in town for the Commonwealth Games. Mahathir ordered Anwar's arrest that night. A week later, Anwar appeared in court, bruised from what he said was a police beating.
Whatever the verdict in Anwar's trial, it is unlikely to end the momentum for reform kindled by his ouster. Clearly Malaysia's reform movement has legs, although no one wants a repeat of the violence that devastated Indonesia during Suharto's fall. It looks like the transition won't be easy. Mahathir seems intent on staying in power to safeguard the economic structure he spent 17 years building. But even if Anwar vanishes from power, the questions he posed in this turbulent year will haunt his stern mentor for years to come.
By Sheri Prasso and Mark Clifford in Kuala Lumpur, with Joyce Barnathan in Hong Kong.

FOR those who might have missed out the infamous court case involving Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who was charged with sodomy and subsequently convicted of the offence some 10 years ago, below are some of the excerpts taken from the famous book titled "50 Reasons Why Anwar Cannot Become Prime Minister”.
The book was published by Datuk Khairuddin Abu Hassan, who is now the deputy executive chairman of Islam Hadhari Program, at the Prime Minister’s Department.
The book had led to the investigations into Anwar’s sodomy activities, abuse of power and cronyism and caused his downfall as Deputy Prime Minister and sacking from Umno.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan, who was the Special Branch director at that time, headed the investigations team.
Below are some of the excerpts.
(From the book by Khalid Jafri originally written in Malay. This book is now banned in Malaysia. Now translated into English.)
Khairuddin Abu Hassan is the cousin of Anwar Ibrahim, while the late Sulaiman Palestine was his uncle. Sulaiman Palestine was one of the founding fathers and the fourth longest UMNO member. He was one of those UMNO veterans responsible for inviting Anwar into UMNO and shaping his political career. Khairuddin once said that before Sulaiman passed away, he left a prophecy. The prophecy says that Dr. Mahathir shall not appoint Anwar as the Prime Minister of Malaysia. As long as Anwar is in UMNO, the party will be in jeopardy. Dr. Mahathir was instead asked to appoint Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Foreign Minister) or Sanusi Junid (Chief Minister of Kedah) as Prime Minister if Dr. Mahathir wishes to save UMNO, the Malays and the country.
After five years of being the Deputy Prime Minister and UMNO Deputy President, Anwar Ibrahim now pose a new dilemma in the party and the country’s leadership.
Anwar’s failure to tackle the economic issues since he assumed the Minister of Finance position five years ago, is becoming clear to the people that he cannot be entrusted to follow through and make Vision 2020 concept a success for the country and its people.
Instead of doing his job, Anwar interfered with the Prime Minister in other administrative matters that are way outside his jurisdiction and responsibility.
It is as if Anwar wants to challenge the extraordinary capabilities of Dr. Mahathir, his brilliant leadership, his futuristic vision and his abilities to expertly handle national and global issues.
Due to the persistent failures of Anwar in the past five years, Dr. Mahathir deserves the opportunity of a new deputy and successor.
As such, leaders and UMNO members who are concerned about the party’s struggles must demand that the Deputy Prime Minister and the UMNO Deputy President be replaced to a leader who is more productive, not power and money crazy and not behave as if he is already the Prime Minister.
In short, moral obligations must be taken into consideration besides other values like sincerity and honesty of the leader.
The wave of change must however be about the conscience of the party continuity and ingenuity. It is up to UMNO members to find the right solution. This is important since the responsibility to handle the change in leadership is solely for the UMNO Deputy President and Deputy Prime Minister position.
As the backbone of Barisan Nasional, UMNO is responsible to formulate a meaningful destiny. This can only be achieved if all parties are sincere and willing to accept the fact that the number two leader which was chosen five years ago cannot be entrusted upon to preserve and protect the religion, the party, the people and the country.
Otherwise, internal conflicts will always exist and the commitments to the country’s bright and successful future under the leadership of Dr. Mahathir will be tarnished and destroyed by Anwar whom we have put our trust without knowing the factual truth about his background.
Actually UMNO members do not know much about Anwar. He is still regarded as an outsider and his sudden appearance in UMNO attracts lots of bad interpretations. Anwar’s arrival as an UMNO leader is just like the emergence of Tun Perak in the Melaka Sultanate during the rule of Sultan Muzaffar Shah in the 14th century.
In the beginning, Tun Perak was only the administrator of the Kelang territories representing the Sultan of Melaka. Later he became the Deputy Prime Minister in Melaka. The Prime Minister at the time was Bendahara Seri Nara DiRaja. Tun Perak however, wished to seek more power and authority although he was already in a very high position in the Melaka government.

50 Reasons Why Anwar Cannot Become Prime Minister

1. Vindictive
Anwar Ibrahim is very vindictive whether towards friends or foes. This never ending vendetta against Sanusi Junid, Rahim Tamby Chik, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and many others has made him unpopular as a leader.

2. Opposition
The attitude of opposing has become Anwar’s habit since he began to be active in UMNO in 1982. In the same year that he opposed Suhaimi Kamaruddin to wrest the seat of UMNO Youth Head.

3. Divide & Rule
The attitude of divide and rule is Anwar’s strategy to remain in power in UMNO and the government. He had the temerity to put UMNO Kedah at loggerheads when he set up a complot to oppose Dr Mahathir’s proposal to appoint Sanusi Junid as Kedah Menteri Besar.
He also gave pressure on Rahim Tamby Chik until he was forced to resign as Malacca Menteri Besar.

4. False Oath
Anwar had the guts to swear not to oppose Ghaffar Baba for the post of UMNO Deputy President. It turns out to be a false oath, which is cursed by God.

5. Topple Mahathir
He has sworn to topple Dr Mahathir’s leadership in front of the late Haji Sulaiman Palestine for being detained by ISA when Dr Mahathir was Minister of Education.

6. Does Not Practise What He Preaches
Anwar has the habit of not practising what he preaches. If he talks about anti money politics, he is the one who is the head of money politics during the election for the post of UMNO Deputy President in 1993.

7. Father of Corruption
Corruption was highest when he was Minister of Finance, hence people call him Father of corruption.

8. Broken Family
Anwar comes from a broken family. His father Ibrahim Abd Rahman took his maid as his wife causing Anwar’s mother Hajah Che Yan to live in stress and become paralysed. Mokhtar, Anwar’s brother is a drug addict. The family that was once not so well off became wealthy when Anwar became the Minister for Finance.

9. Eloped With A Young Woman
Anwar has eloped with a young woman to wed her in Thailand. He did not get the approval from Wan Ismail, Azizah’s father until Wan Ismail had to take out his pistol to chase him away from entering his house. Eventually Anwar’s mother took the initiative to wed Anwar to Azizah in her house in Bukit Mertajam.
This attitude of Anwar has shown how laws, regulations and the Malay and Islamic culture can be disregarded as long as his desires can be fulfilled.

10. Sodomise
There was a commotion when Anwar’s secret of sodomising his driver Azizan was revealed.
This story about Anwar sodomising is not new. It started when he was still a student in MCKK and in Universiti Malaya. Many people want to come forward to reveal Anwar’s past life. Just wait.

11. Played With Someone’s Wife
The story of how Anwar Ibrahim gets involved in a sex scandal with another man’s wife – the wife of his personal secretary Mohamad Azmin Bin Ali, named Madam Shamsidar Taharin had been revealed by Azmin’s sister, Ummi Hafilda Binti Ali.

12. Illegal Child
The results of illegal sex with Shamsidar had produced a child named Afifa. Shamsidar is proud of this child because she is the child of a government big shot.

13. Deprave and Unfaithful
Anwar Ibrahim is not only unfaithful towards his wife but also a homosexual, who is cursed by God.

14. Likes To Quarrel
Anwar Ibrahim’s name itself connotes that Anwar like to quarrel or make war. An War means a war in English, that is why he likes crises, quarrels, controversies and wars.

15. Hiding Behind the Mask of Religion
When Anwar became the leader of ABIM, Islamic principles were made his basis of struggle to meet his political ambition. When he joined UMNO, all the principles and Islamic struggle were only a mask whereas his actual struggle is the contrary. Anwar became a hypocrite when he led the congregational prayer and read the sermon on Friday prayers while he himself is not clean, and his morality is full of sins. His reading of the Quranic verse on The Disbelievers was wrong. This had been commented by intellectuals themselves. Anwar had always been seen wearing silk when he was leading the prayers.

16. Transgress
From the sins that he has committed it shows that he is a transgressor of God’s law and he is not blessed to administer the country.

17. Condemning UMNO
When he was the leader of ABIM and a student Anwar was vocal in condemning UMNO and their leaders but after a short while he had to eat his humble pie.

18. Leader without Vision
Actually Anwar is a leader without a vision. His vision is seen as only wanting to become rich through corruption, power seizure through UMNO and homosexuality.

19. Abuse Power
Although Dr Mahathir is still the Prime Minister but in many aspects, Anwar disregard Mahathir’s power and promotes his own image. For example, he acts alone in the foreign policies that have been laid down very well by Foreign Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Therefore there was a contradiction between Dr Mahathir and Abdullah’s presentation and his. Anwar also used the National Order Bureau (BTN) as his political means.

20. Has Become a US Puppet
Many people were surprised that the US government had welcomed Anwar’s arrival in the US as an eminent statesman with 21 gunshots and a red carpet. While Dr Mahathir himself had never been welcomed in such a manner. A similar welcome had been given to Boris Yeltsin, while at that time Gorbachev was the President of the Soviet Union. Soon after that, the Soviet Union broke up and Boris Yeltsin rose as the new President of Russia. Can’t the US do the same thing to Malaysia? Anything can happen and the people have many impressions of Anwar when they interpret this extraordinary friendship. Is Anwar an agent of CIA?

21. Usury
Although Anwar as Malaysian Finance Minister failed to preserve the former excellent economic position of the country before he took charge and economic decline and crisis continued, the US evaluation of him is the reverse. Recently he was elected as the Chairman of IMF Development – the US Monetary Institution which gives loans to countries that are suffering from inflation like Indonesia, Thailand South Korea with harsh conditions. Hence, Anwar is indulgent in non-Islamic institutions that practise usury – the kind of trade condemned by God.
In Malaysia Islamic banking may be set up and all bank transactions can be done according to Islamic standard but Anwar cannot set up Islamic banking in IMF.

22. Lies
99% of Anwar’s life style is made up of lies. Anwar had once said that ABIM was founded by himself. He says that ABIM comes from his name Anwar Bin Ibrahim. Whereas the persons who set up ABIM were Sanusi Junid with Prof Nawawi Ghazali. Nawawi was the First President while Sanusi was the Deputy President.

23. ABIM
Before Anwar left ABIM, he pledged to ‘ABIMise’ UMNO. Therefore we can see many ABIM members joined UMNO to become Head, Deputy, Vice Head and Exco members of UMNO Division and Branch throughout the country.

24. The Participation of 46 Party
Anwar was not happy with the decision to bring back all members of 46 party led by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, hence he tried to stop Razaleigh from all levels so that the members of 46 party would not get any position in UMNO divisions. As a leader, it is certainly unhealthy to be vindictive whereas the members of 46 have a sincere wish to disband their party and join UMNO again.

25. Toppled People Who Had Contributed to UMNO
Whoever is regarded as strong although they have contributed to UMNO, will find that Anwar would find ways to marginalised them and promote his own men.Among those who became his victim were Ghaffar Baba, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Sanusi Junid, Rahim Tamby Chik, Mohamad Hj Taib, Anuar Musa and Daim Zainuddin himself.

26. Disrespectful
Ghaffar and Dr Mahathir are two pillars of UMNO who together set up UMNO in 1946. If Ghaffar remains as Deputy President of UMNO and the Deputy Prime Minister, it is appropriate after having struggled for a long time in UMNO to fill that posts. But Anwar who had just joined UMNO rose up by discarding people who had contributed a lot to his religion, race and country. Ghaffar felt humiliated by Anwar’s disrespectful attitude. This should have been made a lesson to UMNO members. Mutual respect should be observed by all.

27. Hypocrisy
If any leader is hypocrite he will expose many of his mistakes until his status is put at a low pedestal. Anwar has this attitude.

28. Ravenous
The practise that Allah has condemned (homosexuality) has put Anwar’s character to the lowest level and he becomes ravenous in all cases.

29. Forgotten His Roots
Anwar since he was made the Minister had forgotten his roots as a champion of Islam. He leads a lifestyle that is contradictory to his former principles of struggle. If possible he wants to remain in power as an autocrat. When he was the Minister of Education, he was once invited to open a National School in Masjid Tanah, Malacca. But unfortunately he said, “do I need to come”.

30. Contradicted the Prime Minister
Although Dr Mahathir is still the Prime Minister, Anwar has acted like the Prime Minister. Dr Mahathir’s statement on a project or issue, has always been denied by Anwar or he has made contradictory comments.

31. Anwar Controls the Media
Utusan Malaysia, Berita Harian and TV3 are under Anwar’s command. Once Anwar speaks, he becomes the main news in those media. Although Dr Mahathir gives more sound speeches they would be put in the second line or in the inside page.

32. Slander
Through those media, (Anwar) would slander some leaders until they are not given the chance to defend themselves. An example of their victim was Rahim Tamby Chik, although he had never been convicted or sentenced by the Court, Rahim was clearly accused of corruption and engaging in sexual relations with underage girls.

33. Flat Forehead
If we look closely, Anwar’s forehead is obviously flat. According to Feng Shui experts, people with flat forehead will not become a great leader or number one leader.

34. Waves
The book Waves written by Anwar describes himself as continually living in waves.

35. The Drop of the Ringgit
Before Anwar became Finance Minister, our ringgit value was RM2.20 compared to US$1.00. But now our position remains static at RM3.90 compared to US$1.00 As a result, cost of household products had risen to 60%. Actually Anwar’s appointment as Chairman of IMF Development could influence the rise of the ringgit value but it has dropped.

36. State’s Loss
The economic crisis continues until now because of the loss suffered by Bank Negara from RM10.1 billion to RM12.8 billion. The Bank Negara should not indulge in gambling (currency trading) but should safeguard the country’s reserves. The Bank Negara has been classed as ‘big bully’ in the foreign exchange market until it suffers a big loss. As a result investors of foreign exchange from Europe and the US became spiteful of Malaysia’s role and they reacted by attacking Malaysia’s currency. Nevertheless as Finance Minister, Anwar was only capable of telling the people that we suffered a loss only on paper. This is the standard of our Finance Minister, one who has never involved in the economic sector but given financial duties, will result in further damage to the state’s finance.

37. Lesson
Anwar Ibrahim only holds an Arts qualification in Malay Literature from Universiti Malaya. Even so, he did not pass his first year. He does not have any knowledge in trade and economy that would enable him to protect and manage the country’s finance.

38. Nepotism
From a family that is not well off Mr Ibrahim can now marry another wife. If both wives did not give their consent, he can go to Thailand – follow Anwar’s style. Rani, Anwar’s brother was a bankrupt once but now he is very rich, always going out with Ku Yah. Wan Ismail, Anwar’s father-in-law who wanted to shoot Anwar for eloping with Azizah, has now become obsequious to his beloved son-in-law. Wan Ismail also obtained a big reward with 30 million shares worth RM90 million.

39. Has No Limit
Imagine if Anwar becomes Prime Minister one day? He will not only bring Malaysia to poverty and his family becomes rich but Anwar’s greed has no limit. All the buttocks of teenagers will be molested. Minister of Youth and Sports has to come up with a weekly list, providing pretty teenagers or Anwar’s consumption. All the present Ministers will be sacked. Whoever offers his buttocks will become a Minister. Syed Hussein Al Attas (the writer who is not a professor) would never accept a post from Anwar because he is not a homosexual, and also not a man who goes after another man’s wife. Syed Hussein also has his own morals. Others are not like him when money is offered. They will just do it.

40. Lot’s Tribe
According to Buletin Utama news, in this city at present, there are 20,000 men who are involved in homosexual activities. The number increases from time to time and it is feared that the city will turn into Sodom village in Palestine where almost all the people practised homosexuality. This tribe of Prophet Lot did not heed the Prophet’s admonition that their action was cursed by God. Finally God destroyed the whole of Sodom and killed almost all depraved men except Prophet Lot and some followers who kept their faith. We fear that if the number of these homosexuals grows bigger and cannot be controlled God would curse and destroy the people. What is perplexing is that it is not as if there weren’t any beautiful women in Sodom, but the men kept looking for other men. Anwar’s speciality is that he is a bisexual, much better than Lot’s tribe.

41. Unpopular With the People
With his scandal with another man’s wife, homosexuality, corruption, abuse of power, a puppet to the US, hiding behind the mask of Islam and so on, Anwar has become unpopular and will cause havoc not only to UMNO members but also to all Malaysians.

42. Malays Became Poor
Before Anwar became Finance Minister, many Malays enjoy wealth and comforts. But when Anwar replaced Daim Zainuddin, Malays became poor. For five years they have been waiting patiently for the economic situation to recover but the sustenance they have been waiting for has yet to come. The longer Anwar become Finance Minister, Malays will become poor. The rich will become richer including Anwar’s family.

43. The country’s Future Is Bleak
Malaysia is known worldwide because of the popularity of its Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad. In a short time Malaysia will shift from the Third World to an advanced country. The concept of Vision 2020 will make Malaysia an advanced country with a prosperous and harmonious people. Can our dreams be achieved if Anwar Ibrahim becomes the Prime Minister? Many predict that the country’s future will be bleak under Anwar Ibrahim.

44. Strategy
In this economic decline, Anwar is still capable of running his political strategy to remain in power with the agenda of toppling Dr Mahathir. Anwar wants all his generals and lieutenants to contest as Head, Deputy, Vice Head, Exco members, Head of Youth and Head of UMNO Wanita at the division level recently. Unfortunately Anwar’s strategy was in vain because of several rules of UMNO Executive Council. Hence, many holding important appointments in division are not among Anwar’s supporters. If Anwar’s strategy had succeeded (before the Executive Council regulations) he would want to oppose Dr Mahathir in the 1999 election. Anwar wants to knock out Dr Mahathir in his hands.

45. Spread Money
Because of the wealth owned by Anwar and his people, every candidate who supports him in division level election will certainly win. In the election of Division Head of UMNO Langkawi in 1995, Anwar’s people spread money freely merely to rob Sanusi Junid from a certain victory. The strong influence of money caused Sanusi to lose in the hands of Abu Bakar Taib, Member of Parliament of Langkawi. The same happened in Malacca recently, because of money politics, Rahim Tamby Chik lost his election for the post of Division Head of UMNO Malacca.

46. Eating while Squatting, Eating With Chopstick
The Malay etiquette is based on Islamic etiquette. The struggle for Islam was the basis of Anwar’s struggle when he was in ABIM. But when he became Minister, the etiquette that he had been holding all these while suddenly disappeared. Anwar had been photographed eating while squatting in public and eating with chopsticks in front of the Prime Minister.

47. The Formation of M-Ten
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir had been too lenient with Anwar although Anwar is willing to step on his head. Dr Mahathir had been looking for ways on how to control the state’s finance so that its budget can be arranged and not be spent wastefully by Anwar. Hence Dr Mahathir has set up the National Economic Action Council (M-Ten) where Daim Zainuddin is the Executive Director.

48. A Blow to Anwar
Actually Anwar should realise that the formation of M-Ten is a big blow to him because his credibility in running the country’s finance has been doubted. If Anwar is wise and has a high moral, he should step down as Finance Minister.

49. Destruction
The unity of UMNO and the Malays which has all along been good and stable will be destroyed if Anwar is still elected as the Prime Minister replacing Dr Mahathir. This is based on facts that have been presented in this book.

50. Will
Finally the will from Haji Sulaiman Palestine to Dr Mahathir before he died. Anwar had learnt a lot from the late Haji Sulaiman, his uncle. Haji Sulaiman who was an UMNO veteran knew many secrets and weaknesses of Anwar. Because of that he had left a will stating that Dr Mahathir should not choose Anwar as Prime Minister because UMNO would shatter. Dr Mahathir had been advised by him to choose Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as Prime Minister if he wants to see UMNO safe.

50 Reasons Why Anwar Cannot Become Prime Minister Part 1 (chapter 2)

by Khalid Jafri

Tunku Abdul Rahman 1988 - "Biarlah Saya Mati Dalam Perjuangan"


Malaysian Politics: Najib’s Art of Doing Nothing

Bersih: ‘Security risk’ for ballot boxes if early vote count disallowed

Tunku Abdul Rahman 1988 - "Biarlah Saya Mati Dalam Perjuangan"

November 06, 2012
NOV 6 — When students look at portraits of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra al-Haj (1903-1990), the first Prime Minister of Malaysia is perceived as a distant figure from an era gone-by. He’s the Father of Independence, the legend, and the unknown. We are told how great he was; yet we know so little of him. He is a myth. This shouldn’t be happening, because Tunku was a prolific writer. After his retirement, Tunku actively wrote two columns for The Star newspaper: Looking Back and As I See It. Several articles from the first column were compiled into a book with the identical title. From that book, I draw several of Tunku’s views which are applicable in our country today.
1. Abolish AUKU
Tunku had a long and dreadful conflict with Communists. But when the government conjured a Communist conspiracy theory behind the student unrests of the early 1970s, Tunku was quick to reject that theory. “Student [ego] movement is widespread in the world. They like to be known, they like to be seen and they like to be heard like grown-ups,” Tunku wrote in 1974. He refused to blame the students and understood that suppression of the young minds will not help Malaysia to be vibrant and dynamic country. In order to be ahead of our regional peers, we need to develop intellect and critical thinking. Tunku expressed desire to include students in our country’s politics and decision-making process. He suggested, “Perhaps one or two seats be given to Universities so that their members can participate in Parliament and play their parts in the country’s politics”.
“My own view is that personal attention must be given to students when they enter the University though they are men and not boys anymore,” Tunku wrote. “Men means they are on terms of equality with the professors and others who run the Universities and Colleges. The only difference is that they are undergraduates, having joined the University to find for themselves useful careers in life.” Such is Tunku’s faith in our potential and capability. It is clear that not only Tunku would abolish AUKU, but also he would work to encourage student participation in politics.
2. Revamp or resign from The Star
The Star was a small English-language daily in Penang in 1974 when Tunku was approached by its owner, Datuk Loh Boon Siew, to become its chairman. Tunku accepted the offer. With the help of his popular column every Monday, The Star quickly became a national newspaper. Today, The Star is the largest in terms of circulation in Malaysia. However, Tunku would be very disappointed if he sees what had happened to his paper. While The Star still provides news and services, it became a political mouthpiece of the government since Ops Lalang.
The current chief editor, Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, wrote at the preface of Tunku’s republished book, “[Tunku’s] refreshing take on the country’s political scene, a stark contrast to the propaganda in other papers then reeled readers in and his columns helped The Star at the forefront of the print media scene.” Sadly, the paper became the opposite of what it once was. Like other independence fighters who condemned the old newspapers being the mouthpieces of the colonial masters, Tunku would surely not tolerate his paper being mouthpiece of their master. He would demand The Star to show more autonomy, or resign from the news outlet.
3. Less bitter politics
How would Tunku deal with the opposition? And, to a certain extent, activist groups like BERSIH? “I adopted as policy whatever I thought was good for the people and the country,” Tunku wrote. “It was my duty to care for the people as best as I could, and to do everything within my capacity or powers to ensure that people had peace, contentment and happiness, in other words enough food, enough money and a place to live in.” Such words may be simply dismissed as sugarcoating and mere rhetoric in today’s politics. But Tunku’s deeds matched his words. He was willing to risk his political career by engaging with the enemy; an act which was perceived as soft and compromising by his critics. He preferred to negotiate than to relentlessly attack the other side. Thus he met and negotiated with British officials, Chin Peng, Lee Kuan Yew, and opposition leaders.
What would that tells us in today’s context? If Tunku was willing to meet and talk around the table with Chin Peng, wouldn’t he be willing to do the same with Ambiga and A. Samad Said? If he were able to discuss properly and write formally to inform Harry Lee that Singapore must leave due to his antics, would he resort to personal attacks which are so prevalent in today’s politics? Tunku was convinced that direct approach to meet face to face and put it all out on the table would allow all sides to see where they stand. Tunku even won admiration from opposition leaders. “For me, it is still Tunku Abdul Rahman who was above it all,” said Karpal Singh. “He was the one man who was determined to be leader for all Malaysians, regardless of race.”
4. More focus on ‘being Malaysian’ to tackle brain drain
What about our unmentionable racial issues? In an article published in 1975, Tunku expressed support for policies assigned to push the bumiputras ahead. However, he claimed that “many bumiputras put all their money into businesses in which they have no experience, and lose all their money…or they sold their rights to others for paltry sums.” He said there is too much exhortation going on and told a story when he was the PM. “I remember that once when Encik Aziz Ishak was Minister of Agriculture he confiscated all the licenses of Chinese rice dealers in Northern Perak and Province Wellesley with which to win over the Malays. But this way of doing things are wrong; it was the adage, “robbing Petter to pay Paul.” Tunku offered a remedy. “Immediately I ordered these licenses to be returned, but any licenses that were required for bumiputras should be given without limits. Nobody complained, as no one suffered.”
He also explained that when his government opened up large tracks of land, built roads, supplied water and electricity and lent out money to small traders and fishermen to improve their lot, never a word was said about bumiputras. “This phrase was introduced to play up the differences between people, those who were indigenous and those who are immigrant…it tends to split our people, and to turn back the status of Malaysians to the position we were in before under our imperialist masters. [divide-and-rule separation]’ Tunku still supported the policy providing aids to poor bumiputras, but he feared that “the policy of winning the hearts and minds of the people will suffer a severe setback unless care is employed in the use of the word “Bumiputras”. Tunku has always wanted to make people feel belonged in this country, and that there is no other home except here. “I tried to make everyone feel that Malaya [Malaysia] was his home, and that I expected every man to do his duty to this country, irrespective of racial origin.”
Tunku was a far-sighted man. He envisioned a happy nation where Malaysians are among the happiest people in the world. Though he is no longer our “happiest prime minister in the world”, (as he used to call himself) he still has valuable wisdom and advice to be shared with us. All accessible through his words. “We have the past to guide us through any present or future peril — but we must be resolute, and never let up, if we want our Malaysia to remain the peaceful, good country we love.”
* Ooi Kok Hin studies at The Ohio State University.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

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