Lawyers' standing ovation for PM: why?
Published:  Apr 21, 2008 2:32 AM
Updated: 3:28 AM

vox populi big thumbnail ‘I deeply regret the Bar Council's easy acceptance of the PM's sweetener. I wasn't expecting more from the PM but certainly I was expecting much more from the legal profession.’

On Najib: Payment Is no apology

Beh Sai Kong: The Bar Council gave the PM a standing ovation. I can imagine that he is in much need of this. In effect the Bar Council got nothing more than a speech. Even should the promise of a judiciary appointments commission be realised, that is for the distant future and it only covers one vital aspect of judiciary revival. The past, however, is conveniently, cheaply and summarily dismissed with a plain tribute and promise of ex-gratia payments without an apology. For 20 years of humiliation and anguish, the former Lord President and his former senior justices get this and no more. The DPM's clarifying statement confirms this.

I deeply regret the Bar Council's easy acceptance of the PM's sweetener. I wasn't expecting more from the PM but certainly I was expecting much more from the legal profession. These cheap offers from the powers that be mean very little. It will not address the blatant conflict of interest that Umno (Lama or Baru) committed through its then president and PM. The entire judiciary arm was taken on and incapacitated. Till today no wrongdoing in this matter has been officially determined nor acknowledged.

Surely the lawyers will know that until and unless a duly established review is undertaken, there can be no closure to this horrendous act of hijacking the constitutional power and functions of the judiciary. Therefore, despite all the promises made by the powers that be, such a dastardly act can take place again to aid the interests of the powers that be. What is the Bar Council's standing ovation standing on?

Joe Fernandez: As long as the Umno/BN government refuses to apologise for the 1988 crisis involving the judiciary, there will be a dark cloud hanging over Umno/BN. This issue will come back to haunt them every election like the issue of the keris and all instances where Umno twists and turns anything and everything into a racial issue to play to the gallery, scare the Malays, divide the people, pit Malay against non-Malay and get the Malays to circle the wagons behind Umno, so that the party will continue to get all Malay votes and thereby a handful of leaders can go on to live it up at the expense of the people.

No longer so. An apology to the sacked judges as well as the people is a must. That’s the minimum. The Umno/BN Government must have the decency and courtesy to apologise for the 1988 judiciary crisis which brought shame and disrepute to Malaysia. Likewise, all lawyers and the Bar Council must apologise to the sacked judges and the people for the 1988 judiciary crisis which brought shame and disrepute to Malaysia. Wasn’t Anwar Ibrahim part of the Umno/BN government in 1988? He must apologise personally and on behalf of the Umno/BN government as well to the sacked judges and the people for the 1988 judiciary crisis which brought shame and disrepute to Malaysia.

Mahathir, the main culprit, won’t, of course, apologise. He thinks he’s infallible. He will keep pointing the fingers at others. This shows the character of the man.

Om Prakash: The response from the PM and the DPM on ‘no apology’ to the former Lord President Salleh Abbas and the five judges smacks clearly of the difficulty to admit the guilt and shame of the past and current Umno leadership.

The problem with Umno is that it cannot come to sincerely apologise because several of their current leaders, including Abdullah, Najib, Samy and others were in cahoots with Dr Mahathir in the decision to sack the then Lord President. These current leaders would rather ‘choose the devil rather than the deep blue sea’ . This is the true culture and character of Umno, in that they ‘cannot shame the devil by telling the truth’.

After March 8, the truth is that what goes around comes around. We just need a little more time to bear with the inconvenience of waiting a little longer.

Francis T Rozario: Zaid Ibrahim, for all he is worth, had said there are many ways to say sorry and he has implied that the Prime Minister's actions can be construed to mean an apology but Najib - whom I believe has more reasons than one to be afraid of an independent judiciary - came out to stress that it was not an apology as an apology and real reform may work against Najib's interests.

This is why I said the compensation called a gratuity is an insult to the judges. I would like a response from Zaid or the PM on what Najib just said. I seem to get the feeling that Najib's relationship with the PM is falling apart. I will support the PM if he says that Najib does not necessarily have to be his successor.

On A daughter devastated, a mother with no answers

Ratormo: The matriculation course only serves one objective and that's to get into public university the easy way. But there is no easy way to get a proper education. In my opinion, the STPM exam follows the Viking's proverb: ‘What does not kill you, makes you stronger’. I was a STPM student who has now completed a degree and MSc. in Petroleum Eng. from a local university and a PhD in Chemical Eng from Nottingham University (UK) with scholarships from a private company (for degree), the government university (for my MSc) and the British government (for the PhD). Today I earn a fantastic salary working for a foreign oil company doing R&D work .

Up to the PhD level, I can tell you that STPM was the toughest exam that I had ever faced. The STPM and CLP (law exam for foreign law grads) only serves to break the will of the non-bumi students. But like the Vikings said, what does not kill you, makes you stronger. So Schoolteachers's daughter don't give up. Take up the STPM and pursue your dreams and show this government what you are made of!

Truly Malaysian: I am in deep sympathy with the mother who finds it hard to answer her daughter's question pertaining to equal opportunity in education. Thirty long years ago, I was fortunate enough to get an honest answer from a director in my department on the same question.

The answer was- ‘This is our national policy’.

In Malaysia, where people are divided and ruled along racial lines, there are artificial differences, discriminations and segregation as tools of public administration. Without that, the people would not be divided and therefore could not be ruled as is now. Fears, threats, distrust and therefore disunity among Malaysians made things easier for the authority to administer the masses.

And this has not changed over all these years. So, if you desire to be a ‘loyal’ Malaysian, you have to come to terms with this state of inequality and injustice. In fact, it is irrelevant for us to use the word ‘equality’ in this land as it has yet to attain that level of civilisation.

I sincerely hope that the daughter's question is answered.

Prabu: This is not first time that I'm hearing that a straight A1s student is denied an entry to a government matriculation institution. Even my colleague's daughter who scored 11 A1s is denied admission to these pro-bumi schools.

Is not that Indians, Chinese and others don’t have the money to send their children to private institution. Isn’t it a citizen of Malaysia’s right? Why do we have to go elsewhere for education even if our children scored many, many A1s? Where is the equality in education? We are not asking for special rights for education but at least, it should be an equal system.

If this continues, we non-bumis need not to live in such country. No wonder many are migrating.

Sadirah K: I can well sympathise with ‘A Schoolteacher’ and the plight of her daughter. There are many young Malaysians who are now asking the question as to why they are of lesser value than others. The only time Malaysians are equal is when it comes to tax assessments. It is difficult for Malaysians who are not bumiputera, Malays or Muslims to secure places to study for Matrikulasi .

I know of a friend of mine whose two children excelled in their results but could not secure a place. The father was desperate because he wanted his children to study in Malaysia. He could not afford to send them overseas. They cannot do Assasi Sains because they do not qualify racially. The only option is STPM – a two year programme following which there is no choice but to do a course not of your preference. Talk of Medicine and Dentistry and it is a dream.

This is the level of discrimination that we have to face as minorities. The government talks about Vision 2020 and fairness before all Malaysians. They continue building more and more Mara residential schools that only benefit one community. Less then 25,000 students of about 43,000 who sit for the SPM annually are Indian Malaysians. What ‘threat’ do these students pose?

Do the Indians have to beg for even a 10% allocation of places for Matrikulasi, Assasi Sains and in Mara Junior Science Colleges and residential schools? The PM says that he is the PM of all Malaysians but his rhetoric does not match his actions. In the field of education, there is tremendous inequality.

On Mixed responses to FT retreat

Zorgen: I agree with Wee Choo Keong that there is too much talk and no real action. I hope all the MPs could think more critically on all issues, seek proper solutions and follow through until closure. There could be a lot of talk and proposals for resolutions and action but if there is no accountability and sense of responsibility by the person-in-charge, we will always see useless while the rakyat still lives day-in and day-out in suffering.

On High crime, low wages - who gains?

Romano Leong: Wow, are we in Arizona or Malaysia? One day, I was buying stamps at a counter in a busy San Francisco post office to mail some letters back to Malaysia. To my surprise, the post office lady at the counter ask me about Malaysia. She told me her niece and her daughter went to Malaysia for a vacation and were victims of a snatch thief. Although fortunately the snatch thief failed get to their passports but it really put a dent in Malaysia's tourism industry.

Tombstone is a town in Arizona famous for its lawlessness in the heyday of cowboys and Native Americans. However Malaysia is almost like Tombstone because of the constant crime and violence. The priority of the police is always on illegal assemblies and non-public safety issues. I would suggest Arizona as a much safer to visit. Hopefully Malaysia will not be the next Tombstone.

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