Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz, who revealed the quantum of ex-gratia payout, said Supreme Court judges the late Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawan Teh and George Edward Seah Kim Seng were paid RM2 million each.
Tan Sri Wan Hamzah Mohd Salleh, Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin and the late Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdolcadeer were paid RM500,000 each, Nazri told the Dewan Rakyat in his winding-up speech on Budget 2009 today.
At the same time, he said they were also paid pension and gratuity for the past 20 years with Salleh receiving RM5,102.16 monthly, Wan Hamzah RM6,508.59, Seah and Azmi RM5,916.90 each and Wan Suleiman and Eusoffe RM4,815 each.
Datuk Ibrahim Ali (Ind-Pasir Mas) then asked for the reason for their compensation as it has created a perception that the government under the previous Prime Minister has been wrong in making its decision.
N.Gobalakrishnan (PKR-Padang Serai) also interjected, asking whether the RM5 million was adequate for someone in a very high position like Salleh, who has suffered a lot from the decision, while the government could spend much more for other projects.
He said the case involved the question of one’s honour and dignity, therefore no one could actually put a price to it.
Mahfuz Omar (PAS-Pokok Sena) then asked why were the judges granted with both pension and ex-gratia since they have been sacked from their service, adding to clear their honour and dignity the government should have set up another tribunal to clear them from the actions taken against them.
Nazri said they were found guilty by a panel of tribunal and they were asked to take early retirement , "not sacked".
"They were not sacked. They were asked to retire early. It’s like optional. At 66, you can (receive) pension. Since they chose to retire, the pension was paid. The Pension Department would not pay (pension) if they had broken any laws.
"They did not break any laws. So, the pension was paid. They took early retirement, so the pension was on," he explained.
"They were not sacked but asked to retire early? That’s not correct. They were in fact dismissed by the tribunal. The tribunal cannot ask them to retire early.
"The setting up of the tribunal was to sack them, not to ask them to take early retirement. Please don’t fool us. Since they also received pension, the RM5 million is considered too high."
Nazri said the panel was not set up to sack them but to look at the case and decide on a judgment."To sack is a judgment. To recommend early retirement is a judgment," he said, adding newspaper reports cannot be quoted as reliable sources for valid information.