by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 17th March, 1992:
I will consider moving a substantive motion in Parliament against the Lord President, Tun Hamid if he wants every lawyer appearing before him to declare confidence in him and to accept the propriety and legality of the dismissal of Tun Salleh Abas.
Tun Hamid seems to be heading towards this direction, in wanting lawyers to directly or indirectly to declare their confidence in him and to declare their stand on the propriety and legality of the dismissal of Tun Salleh Abas as Lord President.
Tun Hamid should be able to make a distinction between recognising his appointment as Lord President by the Yang di Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister, and having confidence in him as the head of the Judiciary in view of his role in the 1988 Judicial Crisis over the expulsion of Tun Salleh Abas and two other Supreme Court judges, Tan Sri Wan Sulaiman and Datuk George Seah.
Recognising Tun Hamid’s appointment as Lord President by the Yang di Pertuan Agong does not mean having confidence in him as the head of the Judiciary.
Will Tun Hamid disbar lawyers from appearing at the Supreme Court or before him unless they declare their full confidence in him as Lord President as well as accept the propriety and legality of the dismissal of the former Lord President, Tun Salleh Abas?
Tun Hamid has said that he would ask those persons who appear before him whether they recognise him as Lord President. Would he be satisfied with the explanation by lawyers who said that they accept the Yang di Pertuan Agong’s appointment of him as Lord President while at the same time supporting the 1988 Malaysian Bar resolution expressing no confidence in him because of his role in the expulsion
of Tun Salleh Abas as Lord President?
This is why Tun Hamid should have stayed above the latest eruption of the Judicial crisis, instead of getting directly and personally involved.
DAP calls for a ‘cooling-off’ period for the Government, Judiciary and the Bar before a joint effortto restore confidence in Independence of Judiciary and the Rule of Law.
The latest eruption of the Judiciary crisis was completely unnecessary, and is the result of the gross misjudgment and miscalculation of lawyers who proposed motions at the Bar AGM to recognise and acknowledge Tun Hamid as Lord President, when this question never arose as the Bar had never said that it did not recognise Tun Hamid’s appointment by the Yang di Pertuan Agong.
What judges, lawyers and all those concerned about the administration of justice should be concerned is the urgent need to restore local and international confidence in the Independence of the Judiciary and the Rule of Law in Malaysia, which had been greatly shaken by the 1988 Judiciary Crisis.
Attempts to force lawyers, directly or indirectly to recognise the propriety and legality of the expulsion of Tun Salleh Abas as Lord President and the dismissal of two Supreme Court judges can only aggravate a very tense Bar-Government relationship.
Those who have been operating from the ‘back rooms’ leading to the misconceived motions at the Bar AGM last Saturday had done the country a disservice, for they have not only failed to bring about a reconciliation of the Bar and Government, but have precipitated a Bar-Judiciary confrontation.
DAP calls on all concerned, whether the Government, the Judiciary or the Bar, to observe a ‘cooling-off period’ to allow the tempers aroused by the misconceived motions to subside, to be followed by a serious joint effort to restore the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law in Malaysia.