Saturday, June 21, 2008

Ex-judge was bribed, says Dr Mahathir

Ex-judge was bribed, says Dr Mahathir

IPOH: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday lashed out at a former Supreme Court judge who alleged that the former premier had amended Article 121 of the Constitution to take control of the judiciary.

He said Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin's act of "opening his mouth" after receiving an undisclosed amount of ex gratia payment from the government, showed that the former judge had been "bribed to put him down".

"I am very saddened by Azmi's statement.

"Immediately after receiving money, he opens his mouth against me.

"If this is not bribery, what else can it be?"

Speaking on Friday after receiving an ex gratia payment from Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, Azmi alleged that Dr Mahathir wanted to be a dictator.

He was one of the six senior judges implicated in the 1988 judicial crisis.

He claimed that Dr Mahathir's move to amend Article 121 of the Constitution, which contained the provision for separation of powers between the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary, was to enable the former premier to put the judiciary under him, so that "he could tell the judges what to do".

Before the amendment in 1988, the Article stated that judicial powers of the Federation were "vested in a Supreme Court and such inferior courts as may be provided by Federal law".

But this provision was changed in 1988 to place the courts' jurisdiction in the hands of Parliament.

Azmi was also quoted as saying that he could not write to Dr Mahathir about the injustices committed because the former premier himself was the architect of his misfortune.

Dr Mahathir said that Azmi could have spoken out in the five years since he (Dr Mahathir) stepped down as the prime minister in October 2003.

"Maybe he was afraid to open his mouth when I was the prime minister. But why did he keep quiet for the last five years?

"Now, he says all these things after he has received the money.

"This to me, is corruption... he is being paid to put me down," Dr Mahathir said after a talk organised by several Umno members here yesterday.

Asked what he thought of the proposal by the government to reinstate Article 121 to its original form, Dr Mahathir said it was up to the government to do what it wished, adding that the amendment to the Article was made for valid reasons.

He said if the government thought that the 1988 amendment was not necessary anymore, it could then revert to the original wordings.

"However, if there are negative repercussions in the future, then they should take responsibility for it," he added.

No comments: