By Hafiz Yatim
Apr 2, 2015
The government should compensate whistleblower judge Syed Ahmad Idid Syed Abdullah Idid, said former Court of Appeal judge KC Vohrah.
Syed Ahmad Idid was forced to resign after making revelations of wrongdoing in the judiciary in 1996.
Vohrah, now a consultant with law firm Lee, Hishammuddin, Allen and Gledhill, also commended Malaysiakini for highlighting Syed Ahmad Idid’s plight after so many years.
“Syed Ahmad Idid deserves it (compensation),” he told Malaysiakini recently in response to an interview this news portal had with Syed Ahmad Idid, a former High Court judge last month.
Syed Ahmad Idid in that interview had commended the revelations made by Vohrah in an article for the Court of Appeal, Malaysia, 1994-2014, 20th Anniversary book, published last year.
Syed Ahmad Idid had said he felt vindicated with Vohrah’s exposure.
Vohrah wrote in that article that former chief justice Eusoff Chin had tried to influence one of the judges sitting at the Court of Appeal three-member bench in the controversial Ayer Molek Rubber Company vs Insas Bhd case in 1995.
Eusoff at the time had told the judge in his chambers that the appeal by Ayer Molek had no merit while showing the case files on his desk, although the case had yet to reach him at the Federal Court.
Besides Vohrah, who was at the time a High Court judge co-opted to sit in the Court of Appeal, the other judges who sat on the panel were NH Chan and Siti Norma Yaakob, who later rose to be the first female chief judge of Malaya.
At that time, Insas was represented by senior lawyer VK Lingam, who was revealed to have controversially gone on holiday with Eusoff in New Zealand.
Syed Ahmad Idid wrote an anonymous letter exposing the matter in 1996, which was sent to a select set of high officials.
Among its allegations, it revealed Eusoff had gone on the New Zealand holiday with Lingam, who had appeared before the then chief justice on a number of cases.
Syed Ahmad Idid was told to resign when the letter he sent mysteriously found its way into some government departments and then spread to the media.
‘Nation owes debt’
Besides Vohrah’s call for Syed Ahmad Idid to be compensated, DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang has also called for reparations to be made to the former High Court judge.
Following Malaysiakini’s report on Syed Ahmad Idid, former Transparency International president Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim wrote in the New Straits Times on March 15 that whistleblowing may be a mug’s game, but to Syed Ahmad Idid, it was a sacred duty to expose wrongdoing, even if it meant drawing public attention to brother judges.
“The nation owes a debt of gratitude to this honourable man who put aside his bright career prospects and the future of his young family, to stand against corruption in the Palace of Justice.”
“Syed Ahmad Idid lived up to his reputation as a principled public servant when he decided to open a can of judicial worms. The judiciary today is all the better for his highly developed sense of duty,” wrote Tunku Abdul Aziz.
A former colonel and friend of Syed Ahmad Idid who wanted to remain anonymous, also expressed how proud he was with what the former High Court judge had done.
“I am really interested in what Syed Ahmad Idid had written that landed him in hot water.
“I remember asking a judge who was in my district mosque about it. What he said sticks in my mind until today: ‘Every word Syed Ahmad Idid wrote was correct.’.”
A lady who previously worked at the Bar Council who also wanted to remain anonymous, said she prays the government would reward the former judge richly for the agony and pain that his family and he had to endure,
She added she admired Syed Ahmad Idid’s courage and sense of honour in speaking up.
“Everyone knew everything he said was true, but sadly nobody dared to speak up because they all want to be good guys and girls.
“They all just want to fold their arms and not ruffle any feathers.
“Syed Ahmad Idid has long been vindicated, but what I want to see is justice and compensation given for all he had gone through,” she said.
Head held high
A retired British judge who was Syed Ahmad Idid’s colleague at the Inns of Court, London found the Malaysiakini article interesting and uplifting.
“Syed Ahmad Idid’s actions bring great credit on his integrity and courage. It could not have been an easy time for him and his family.
“But you must have been fortified at all times by knowing you are in the right.
“Corruption is such an odious and corrosive thing. The danger is that if it is left unchecked, it becomes endemic and an accepted culture, that is almost impossible to eradicate.
“But a few brave souls can make a difference,” he asserted.