If Suppiah's allegations in the letter are true, they throw new light on the Salleh Abbas case. It’s a fairly comprehensive letter touching on the history, personalities, issues, contents and general discussions of the controversial judicial case which has since its event, cast a dark cloud over Dr M.
I have no way of knowing whether Suppiah’s contention can stand up to scrutiny by the legal fraternity. However as a layperson I just want to pick on one aspect of the accusations against Salleh Abbas, for two reasons – (1) I am a non-Muslim and (2) we all know that after Salleh Abbas' dismissal from the bench, he joined PAS and even stood as a party’s candidate in one of the GE (2004?).
By itself the (2) point above should be a private matter and be none of any body's business. But read on ...Suppiah wrote (just extracts relevant to my selected specific topic):
Second allegation: At the launching of the book Malaysia Law and Law, Justice and the Judiciary: Transnational Trend on Jan 12, 1988 in his speech ….....
In the same speech he made special reference to the interpretative role of judges and advocated the acceptance of the Islamic legal system not only in the interpretation of the civil law of Malaysia but in its general application.
In particular he advocated thus: "This system consists mostly of the Quran and Hadith (tradition of Prophet Mohammad S.A.W.). The interpretation of these two sources of law is done according to the established and accepted methodology. Volumes of literature have been written as commentaries and exegesis of the Quaranic law the Prophet Mohammad’s Hadith or tradition. In this situation, not only is the judiciary bound by Islamic law as propounded by jurisconsult (muftis, who give legal rulings on particular matters), but as Parliament and the executive too are certainly bound by these rulings."
His attempt to restate the law generally along Islamic legal principles ignores the character of Malaysian society as one which is multi-religious and multi-racial with deep cultural differences. No responsible government can allow the postulation of such views by the head of the judiciary without causing fear and consternation among its non-Muslim population. Furthermore, his statement violates established principles of judicial interpretation widely accepted in the courts in Malaysia and in the Commonwealth.
Third allegation: He adjourned sine die the case of Teoh Eng Huat v Kadhi Pasir Mas, Kelantan and Another (Civil Appeal No 220 of 1986) which involved the issue of a minor’s choice of religion. It was adjourned six times in the Supreme Court – Aug 18, 1986, Aug 25, 1986, Dec 1, 1986, July 30, 1987, July 31, 1987 and Aug 3, 1987. It related to the conversion from Buddhism to the Islamic faith.
As I said this sheds new light on the alleged religious proclivity of Salleh Abbas. I hope some lawyers would come out and confirm or reject this allegation by P Suppiah.
I checked with my Uncle and he seemed to recall the Teoh Eng Huat case – mind you, he wasn’t too sure whether it was Teoh Eng Huat but he recalled a Teoh whose 13 (or 14) years old daughter ‘eloped’ with her Malay teacher, running off to Kelantan to get married and of course in the process was converted to Islam.
The law is and indeed then would be quite clear on that a minor could not make decision of such magnitude. Additionally, Romeo should have been charged with kidnapping and statutory rape, and the minor returned to the care of her parents.
But alas, the civil court (all Muslim judges) shocked everyone by tap dancing away from its due responsiblity, with the distressed family highly traumatised over the shameless injustice.
It was hardly surprising that the frustrated father would have lodged an appeal.
Whether that was the same case P Suppiah has accused Salleh Abbas of adjourning sine die (meaning ‘indefinitely’ or worst case scenario like ‘never’), one wonders how in the world could a judge adjourn a case sine die 6 times.
If indeed it was the case my Uncle remembered, Suppiah’s allegation seems to imply the judge didn’t want the appeal to take place, I suppose, because it would then be bloody embarrassing to explain how a court closed one eye to the Islamic religious conversion of a minor by a man who by legal definition had ‘kidnapped’ and statutorily ‘raped’ her!
I hope someone would come along swiftly to refute this damning allegation of Salleh Abbas. I am shattered by this tsunamic allegation.