1988 Judicial Crisis
In 1988,on the ground of misconduct, Tun Salleh Abas by then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohammad was brought before a tribunal and this tribunal was chaired by Tun Hamid Omar. Due to the constitutionality of the tribunal, Tun Salleh Abas filed a suit in the High Court of Kuala Lumpur and while proceeding, interim stay against the tribunal was applied by Tun Salleh Abas until July 4, 1988 but the request then denied. Later,however, an interlocutory order was granted to Tun Salleh Abas by five judges of the Supreme Court. Tun Salleh Abas’s solicitor, upon receiving the order, rushed to Parliament to lay down the chairman of tribunal of the Interlocutory order.Unfortunatly, Tun Salleh Abas mission was delayed as the gate leading to Parliament was locked and the representatives of Tun Salleh Abas had to call in the police to allow a passage into the Parliament and eventually it was brought up to the tribunal chairman. Soon after, those five judges (Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader, Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, Tan Sri Wan Hamzah Mohamed Salleh, Datuk George Seah and Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawanteh.) was suspended which also, eventually, suspended the Supreme Court.The challenge towards the legality of tribunal could not be heard due to the suspension. But later on, three other judges were repositioned. Due to the inproper dismissal of Tun Salleh Abas led the Bar Council of Malaysia refused to acknowledge the new Lord President. The sacking of Tun Salleh Abas considered as abhorrent by many ranks of opposition as well as our former government for example Tunku Abdul Rahman but it was insisted by supporter’s of Mahathir that it had liberated the judidciary of Malayia from colonial mindset. The sacking was justified by claims that these several judges been abusing public funds for their personal expenses as in purchasing luxury furniture from Italy. It was also insisted that by the removal of those judges, the efficiency of court was regained. Having...
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