Ex-judge urges government to apologise for Ops Lalang

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The government of the day should publicly apologise for Ops Lalang, former Court of Appeal judge Hishamudin Yunus said.

It would not have happened if there was respect for the sanctity of the Federal Constitution, he told the audience during his speech at Karpal Singh’s 10th death anniversary memorial last night.

“I propose that the present government, although it has nothing to do with Ops Lalang, should offer an apology, a public apology to the victims of Ops Lalang,” Hishamudin said.

The infamous operation occurred in 1987 when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was serving his first tenure as prime minister.

A total of 106 activists, journalists and opposition politicians were detained under the Internal Security Act, including Karpal who passed away exactly 10 years ago due to an accident.

Since then, some of the detainees have come forward and said that the incarceration included beatings and mental torture.

In 2017, Mahathir accepted blame for the event but did not apologise, insisting that the crackdown was not his decision.

Hishamudin also referred to the 1988 judicial crisis as another shameful event that must not be forgotten.

“The two disgraceful episodes must never be forgotten because they are lessons to be learnt.

“We as a nation must never allow another Ops Lalang to happen again.


“We as a nation must ensure that there shall never ever be a disgraceful assault on our judiciary,” he said.

Mahathir was the prime minister at the time of the judicial crisis and was widely blamed for the sacking of the judges after they declared Umno illegal.

However, he claimed that he had only acted on the instructions of the then Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Iskandar Ismail.

But Sultan Iskandar’s son Tunku Abdul Majid Idris Sultan Iskandar said Mahathir had “used” his father to remove then lord president Mohamed Salleh Abas.

Under Mahathir’s successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the government apologised to the judges for their sacking and granted them ex-gratia compensation.

Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim oversaw the reconciliation efforts.

Salleh’s removal is widely perceived as the beginning of the judiciary’s loss of independence. – Malaysiakini