Saturday 30 August 2008

20 Years on; the Report of the Panel of Eminent Persons to Review the 1988 Judicial Crisis in Malaysia

Sacked Lord President Salleh Abas was not only innocent of the charges levelled against him but was acting to uphold his constitutional duty to protect the doctrine of separation of powers, a Panel of Eminent Persons reviewing the 1988 judicial crisis has found.

The panel also concluded that the removal of Salleh and Supreme Court judges Wan Suleiman Pawanteh and George Seah subsequently was “non est”, that is, they should not have been sacked.

The panel comprised of:

Former Chief Justice of India JS Verma, who chaired the panel;

Former Pakistan Supreme Court Justice Fakhruddin G Ebrahim;

Advocate of the Pakistan Supreme Court and United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Dr Asma Jahangir;

Senior Malaysian lawyer Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman;

Senior Australian lawyer and former Lawasia president Dr Gordon Hughes; and

Senior Malaysian lawyer Bill Davidson.

Bar Council chairman Ambiga Sreenevasan, launching the Report of the Panel of Eminent Persons to Review the 1988 Judicial Crisis in Malaysia, said: “It may have taken 20 years, but it is never too late for right to be done and for the truth to be told.”

In the 81-page report (which is available online at, the panel said that having examined the proceedings of the first Tribunal, which found Salleh guilty of misbehaviour, it was of the view that “not only was Tun Salleh totally innocent and none of the charges had any merit but, in fact, the Lord President was performing his constitutional duty to uphold and protect the doctrine of separation of powers and the rule of law.”

Causarum justia et misericordia

- For the causes of justice and mercy

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