Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Ex-Gratia Payment


Posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at www.chedet.com on May 9, 2008 1:30 PM

The Malaysian Government of Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi recently decided to pay certain judges ex-Gratia Payments.

Clearly the Government felt contrite over what had happened to these judges many years ago, and felt a need to make amends, but not quite enough to apologise as was suggested by the de facto Minister of Justice, Dato Zaid Ibrahim.

In fact if newspaper reports are to be believed the Cabinet rejected the proposal by the new Law Minister. Nothing was decided about the ex-Gratia payment.

But a dinner was held by the Bar Council which rumours say was paid for by the Government during which the Prime Minister announced two things which must gladden the hearts of members of the Bar.

(Edisi Bahasa Melayu di bawah)
The announcement were;

1) A commission would appoint judges

2) Ex-Gratia payments would be paid to Tun Salleh Abbas and the six judges who tried to frustrate the work of the first tribunal.

I will not elaborate on the Tun Salleh case reserving this for the future. But in my blog, the question was asked whether the ex-Gratia payments constitute contempt of the Tribunal.

Not being a lawyer I cannot really say with certainty but I understand the rules and procedures which apply to the courts do not necessarily apply to the Tribunal. So they may not be in contempt.

But the fact remains that the payments imply that the Government does not quite agree with the decisions of the properly constituted Tribunals. Perhaps it is because the quality of mercy was not exercised. Perhaps it is because the judges suffered from financial losses because of the findings of the Tribunals.

I would like to clarify here, and I stand to be corrected of course, that on appeal by the Attorney-General, I agreed that all the judges be paid their full pensions.

Again if I am not mistaken Tun Salleh Abbas was entitled to and accordingly draws two pensions; one when he reached the age of fifty-five and another at the end of his term as Lord President following his dismissal.

It is possible that as a former State Councillor he also draws a pension.

The other judges were also paid their pensions and where they fulfilled the Malaysian pension scheme they too would receive two pensions.

Maybe I should mention here that I am not so fortunate since I was never paid any pension when I attained the age of 55. Instead I only received my pension when I stepped down in 2003, at the age of 78.

I mention this only for the purpose of comparison. I am not seeking any pension or ex-Gratia or whatever payment from the Government upon reaching the statutory age of 65.

It was reported in the newspapers today that as Petronas Adviser, I am paid RM15,000 a month, not by the Government but by Petronas. I would like to state that this income is taxable and a sum of RM4,500 is deducted monthly.

I also serve as Adviser for Proton, the Langkawi Island Development Authority (LADA) and the Tioman Island Development Authority. For these three entities, I do not receive any form of payment nor do I seek any. If it is felt that the Government can ill-afford the allowance I receive the Government can always stop paying. I will continue to serve even if I am paid nothing.


EDISI BAHASA MELAYU

Bayaran ex-Gratia

Kerajaan Malaysia di bawah pentadbiran Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi baru-baru ini mengambil keputusan untuk membuat bayaran ex-gratia kepada beberapa orang hakim.

Jelas sekali kerajaan berasa bersalah terhadap apa yang berlaku kepada hakim-hakim ini dan merasakan perlu untuk menebus kesalahan itu, tetapi tidaklah sampai ke tahap meminta maaf seperti yang dicadangkan Menteri yang dipertanggungjawabkan ke atas hal-ehwal undang-undang Dato Zaid Ibrahim.

Jika laporan akhbar hendak dipercayai, Kabinet telah menolak cadangan Menteri Undang-Undang yang baru. Tiada keputusan yang debuat berkenaan bayaran ex-gratia.

Tetapi Majlis Peguam telah mengadakan satu acara makan malam yang menurut khabar angin, ianya dibiayai pihak Kerajaan, di mana Perdana Menteri telah mengumumkan dua perkara yang sudah tentu menggembirakan sebilangan ahli Majlis Peguam.

Pengumuman tersebut adalah;

1) Suruhanjaya untuk melantik hakim

2) Bayaran ex-Gratia kepada Tun Salleh Abbas dan enam hakim yang telah cuba menggagalkan tribunal yang pertama

Saya tidak akan huraikan kes Tun Salleh Abbas sehingga satu masa lain. Tetapi di dalam blog saya ini ada yang bertanyakan samada pembayaran ex-Gratia tersebut boleh dianggap sebagai menghina Tribunal.

Saya bukan peguam, jadi saya tidak boleh kata dengan muktamad samada ianya menghina atau tidak, tetapi saya juga faham bahawa undang-undang dan prosidur yang bersangkutan dengan mahkamah tidak semestinya boleh digunapakai oleh Tribunal. Jadi mungkin ianya tidak sampai ke tahap menghina.

Hakikatnya bayaran menunjukkan yang Kerajaan tidak begitu setuju dengan keputusan Tribunal, walaupun Tribunal tersebut ditubuhkan mengikut prosidur. Mungkin juga kerana faktor prihatin atau mungkin kerana hakim-hakim tersebut mengalami kerugian kewangan berikutan keputusan Tribunal.

Saya ingin nyatakan, dan jika saya bersalah maka saya perlu diperbetulkan, bahawa setelah mendengar rayuan Peguam Negara, saya bersetuju bahawa semua hakim-hakim tersebut dibayar pencen penuh.

Sekali lagi, jika tak silap saya, Tun Salleh Abbas berhak dan telahpun menerima dua pencen, satu setelah umurnya sampai ke tahap persaraan wajib (waktu itu) pada umur 55 dan satu lagi setelah tamat tempoh khidmatnya sebagai Ketua Hakim Negara setelah beliau dipecat.

Sebagai bekas Wakil rakyat juga beliau menerima pencen.

Hakim-hakim yang lain juga dibayar pencen mereka dan dimana mereka layak mengikut skim pencen Kerajaan Malaysia, mereka juga menerima dua pencen.

Mungkin saya patut sebut yang saya tidaklah bernasib baik seperti mereka kerana saya tidak mendapat pencen semasa mencapai umur 55 tahun. Sebaliknya, hanya menerima pencen setelah bersara pada tahun 2003 pada umur 78 tahun.

Saya sebutkan ini hanya sebagai perbandingan. Bukanlah saya hendak menuntut bayaran pencen, ex-Gratia ataupun apa jua bayaran daripada kerajaan bagi diri saya setelah mencapai tahap umur persaraan wajib pada 65-tahun.

Saya juga ingin menyebut bahawa di dalam laporan akhbar hari ini, sebagai penasihat Petronas saya dibayar RM15,000 sebulan, bukan oleh Kerajaan tetapi oleh Petronas. Saya ingin nyatakan yang pendapatan ini tidak seperti pencen, tidaklah bebas cukai dan sebanyak RM4,500 ditolak setiap bulan.

Sebagai Penasihat Proton, Lembaga Pembangunan Langkawi (LADA) and dan Lembaga Pembangunan Pulau Tioman saya tidak mendapat apa-apa bayaran, dan saya pun tidak menuntut apa-apa bayaran. Jika dirasakan yang Kerajaan ini tidak mampu untuk membayar elaun tersebut, maka Kerajaan bolehlah menghentikan bayaran. Saya akan tetap berkhidmat walaupun tidak dibayar apa-apa.