Archive for April 18th, 2008

PM’s judicial reform speech – disappointing

I was disappointed by the speech of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on “Delivering Justice, Renewing Trust” hosted by the Bar Council last night.

I had expected more, much more, than what was announced by Abdullah, viz:

• Ex-gratia payment for “the pain and loss” suffered by the late Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader and Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawanteh and their families, Tun Salleh Abas, Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, Tan Sri Wan Hamzah Mohamed Salleh and Datuk George Seah in the 1988 Judicial Crisis. .

• A Judicial Appointments Commission;

• Review of the judiciary’s terms of service and remuneration to ensure that the Bench can attract and retain the very best of the nation’s talent.

The thunderous and prolonged applause which greeted Abdullah’s recognition of the “contributions of these six judges to the nation, their commitment towards upholding justice” and acknowledgement of “ the pain and loss they have endured” in the 1988 judicial crisis cannot hide the general disappointment that the Prime Minister had fallen far short of expectations to ensure a fair and just closure to the Mother of Judicial Crisis in 1988.

It is precisely because the “contributions, pain and loss” of the six wronged judges cannot be equated with mere currency that the ex gratia payment is grossly inadequate. The six wronged judges deserve a full and proper recompense.

Furthermore, the victims of the 1988 “Mother of Judiclal Crisis” and the series of one judicial crisis after another which rocked the nation for two decades were not just the six wronged judges, but the Malaysian people and nation for 20 years because of the ravages to the system of justice which became a laughing stock to Malaysians and the world. Read the rest of this entry »


A Wave of Change Across Southeast Asia? But counter-currents too

By Farish A. Noor

The latest results from the governorial elections in the provinces of West Java and North Sumatra, Indonesia, would suggest that a sea-change of sorts is taking place in Indonesia. Shortly after the shock election results following the General Elections held in Malaysia earlier this year, the governorial elections of Indonesia has led to the victory of the Justice and Prosperity party (PKS) and the National Mandate party (PAN), both of which are Islamist in character and both of which trace their ideological and intellectual geneaology back to the Islamist Masjumi party of the 1950s that struggled to make Indonesia an Islamic state until it was finally banned by President Sukarno in 1960.

What do these results entail and what does it say about the state of Indonesian politics today? More importantly, should the victories of PKS and PAN be seen as the victory of political Islam, and does this signify a shift towards a more Islamist-inclined politics for the rest of the country?

For a start, we should begin with some important observations comparing the results in Indonesia with the recent results in Malaysia. In both cases, the parties that won fielded candidates who are young and relatively unknown compared to the older veterans of the more established parties like Golkar in Indonesia. Yet, as was the case in Malaysia recently, it was precisely the relatively younger age and lack of exposure that perhaps accounted for the victory of the candidates of the PKS and PAN, for they were certainly not associated with the older modes of politics in the past and were not involved or implicated in many of the long-standing political and economic scandals associated with the old regime that dates back to the time of former President Suharto. Read the rest of this entry »