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The country owes Syed Ahmad a debt of gratitude

 | March 5, 2015

Kit Siang: If Syed Ahmad’s whistleblowing in March 1996 had been heeded, the Judiciary can stand tall today and Malaysians would be proud.

kit siang syedKUALA LUMPUR: DAP elder statesman Lim Kit Siang, revisiting his March 1996 and March 2007 proposals, noted that he called twice for a re-opening of investigations into former High Court judge Syed Ahmad Idid Syed Abdullah Idid’s serious allegations in 1996 “in view of their grave and adverse implications about judicial independence and integrity as well as to restore justice to the judge”.

He wants the country to make reparations and restore justice and honour to Syed Ahmad, the country’s first judicial whistleblower, who was victimized and punished instead of being rewarded for his act of supreme loyalty to his oath of office as a judge.

“If Syed Ahmad’s whistleblowing in March 1996 had been heeded, resulting in thorough investigations and root-and-branch reform of the judiciary 19 years ago, Malaysian judges, lawyers and citizens would have been able to stand tall in the world today because we would have a judiciary nationally and internationally respected for its independence, integrity and quality,” said Lim who is also DAP Parliamentary Leader and Gelang Patah MP.

“Now, Malaysian judiciary in 2015 is back in the dock of public opinion, both inside the country and internationally, over the independence, integrity and professionalism of its judiciary and its commitment to a rule of law because of four cases highlighted this year.”

He cited the cases as sodomy II, Altantuya, the infamous Ayer Molek Rubber Company vs Insas Bhd case two decades ago; and the black-listing, discrimination and continued by-passing of Court of Appeal judge Justice Mohamad Hishamudin Mohd Yunus from elevation to the Federal Court.

The case for re-opening of Syed Ahmad’s allegations is based on his own statement more than a decade later in 2007 that his complaints were never really investigated. “This was confirmed by former Attorney-General Abu Talib who lamented that ‘on the other hand, the poor judge who wrote it was investigated’,” said Lim.

In a notorious “Ides of March” speech in 1996, then Attorney-General Mokhtar Abdullah shocked Malaysians with the revelation of a 33-page poison-pen letter to the Conference of Judges in Kuching in March 1996. It made 112 allegations of corruption, abuses of power and misconduct against 12 judges.

Mokhtar publicly issued a directive to the police to launch investigations to “ferret out” and “bring to justice” the “conspirators” and “brutish beasts”.

Four months later, Mokhtar announced the close of the case when he revealed that a high court judge was the one behind the 33-page poison-pen letter against the judiciary and that the judge concerned had resigned.

Syed Ahmad became a victim to a Malaysian system of justice which was completely divorced from the most rudimentary concept of justice.


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