by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Monday, 16th March 1992:
DAP calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to restore the Independence of the Judiciary and to end the Bar-Government stalemate arising from the 1988 judicial crisis following the arbitrary expulsion of Tun Salleh Abas and two Supreme Court judges.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, had for the second day in succession spearheaded the Government attack on the Bar Council for its overwhelming AGM decision on Saturday retaining its 1988 ‘no-confidence’ motion on the Lord President, Tun Hamid Omar.
Dr. Mahathir has expanded his attack on the Bar Council accusing it of being ‘influenced by the thinking of the Opposition’. What is even more shocking is his baseless allegation that the Bar Council’s action was “born out of frustration for not being able to gain power to rule the country through the democratic process”.
By his own logic, is Dr. Mahathir admiiting that the lawyers who had proposed and supported the motions for the Bar Council to ‘acknowledge and recognise’ Tun Hamid Omar as Lord President had done so as a result of ‘Barisan Nasional thinking’ and were acting under the instructions of the Barisan Nasional Government?
I want to make it clear that I am not making any such allegations, but the logic of Dr. Mahathir’s arguments is inescapable!
I would advise Dr. Mahathir and all Barisan Nasional leaders not to politicise the Government-Bar crisis and to try to ignore its real cause.
From Dr. Mahathir’s reasoning, one would have thought that it was the ‘Opposition-influenced’ Bar Council which created the circumstances whereby the Bar Council AGM decisively reaffirmed its lack
of confidence in Tun Hamid Omar as Lord President.
This was not the case. It was the action of lawyers who wanted to rescind the 1988 Bar Council no confidence motion on Tun Hamid as Lord President who created the situation where there was a decisive and incontrovertible reaffirmation of the Bar Council’s lack of confidence in Tun Hamid Omar.
Dr. Mahathir said that the Bar Council AGM’s upholding of its vote of no confidence in Tun Hamid Omar as Lord President was unbecoming of lawyers.
It is difficult to understand Dr. Mahathir’s argument. I believe that thinking Malaysians commend and congratulate the Bar Council AGM’s for its most becoming and honourable behavior as lawyers in reaffirming its 1988 ‘no-confidence’ in Tun Hamid as Lord President.
Dr. Mahathir accused the Bar Council of not being sincere in defending the principle of the Independence of the Judiciary and of meddling in judicial affairs.
Dr. Mahathir is just making political attacks on the Bar Council without trying to resolve the judicial crisis which was created in 1988, because of the arbitrary, improper and unconstitutional sacking of
Tun Salleh Abas as Lord President, as Tan Sri Wan Sulaiman and Datuk George Seah as Supreme Court judges.
So long as the Barisan Nasional Government is not prepared to admit with humility its role in creating the 1988 Judicial Crisis which was the greatest attack on the principle of the Independence of the Judiciary, there can be no satisfactory and effective solution to the problem.
DAP calls for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to restore the principle of the Independence of the Judiciary and to end the Bar-Government stalemate following the 1988 Judicial Crisis.
Tun Hamid’’s statement most injudicious and unjudicial.
The statement by Tun Hamid Omar yesterday advising members of the Malaysian Bar who do not recognise his appointment not to appear before him in Court is most unbecoming of a Lord President or even an ordinary judge. In fact, it was most injudicious and unjudicial.
Tun Hamid’s threat to make an issue in court in asking those persons who appear before him whether they recognise him as Lord President is most shocking and in very bad taste.
Is Tun Hamid suggesting that if the 809 lawyers who voted to retain the ‘no-confidence’ motion against him as Lord President do not change their mind, they should not appear before him at all?
In the cause of justice, isn’t it more appropriate that if there are 809 lawyers who are prepared to express their no confidence in Tun Hamid as Lord President, that Tun Hamid should put the larger interests of the judicial system before self-Interests and retire from the Judiciary service to end the ‘stalemate’ and deadlock between the Bar Council and the Government?