Harun Hashim a great and independent judge in 46-year Malaysian history
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): Tan Sri Harun Hashim was one of the few great and independent judges in the 46-year Malaysian history.
When he was a High Court judge, he was the symbol and beacon of judicial independence and integrity. One may not agree with his finding and verdict, but one can be assured of a fair hearing and independent judgment in his court.
His judicial independence and outspoken and non-conformist views endeared him to the ordinary Malaysian but he became very unpopular with the powers-that-be. In fact, he nearly precipitated the first judicial crisis in the country, even preceding the momentous 1988 judicial crisis resulting in the dismissal of the Lord President and two Supreme Court judges.
In the gathering storm in early October 1987, which led to the ignominious human rights crackdown with mass Internal Security Act arrests under Operation Lalang on October 27, 1987, judicial independence and the rule of law were one sub-set of the raging controversies at the time.
In the fortnight before Operation Lalang dragnet, I publicly referred more than once to rumours and speculations of an unprecedented attack on the judiciary in Parliament, either by way of a motion of censure against a High Court judge or amendments to the Constitution on the provisions on the judiciary.
In the event, the Operation Lalang mass arrests initiated on Oct. 27, 1987 supervened and the first judicial crisis in the nation’s history was delayed by a year – by which time, the assault on the judiciary had found new targets and victims.
If there had been a parliamentary motion of censure against a judge in October 1987, the target and victim would have been Harun Hashim.
The best way to remember and honour Harun as a giant of judicial independence and integrity will be for lawyers in the country to turn up in full force on Saturday to give solid support at the extraordinary general meeting of the Bar Council for far-reaching judicial reforms to protect and promote judicial integrity, accountability and transparency including judicial appointments and promotions.
DAP will organize a public meeting on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 to pay tribute to Harun as a great Malaysian judge and defender of the rule of law. DAP Deputy National Chairman Karpal Singh is the Chairman of the Organising Committee. Distinguished jurists, lawyers and eminent Malaysians will be invited as members of the panel for the occasion to pay tribute to Harun as a great Malaysian judge.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman