Bekas Perdana Menteri Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad hari ini mendakwa, beliau terpaksa mengambil tanggungjawab atas pemecatan Tun Salleh Abbas sebagai Ketua Hakim Negara pada 1988 walaupun ia dilakukan atas permintaan Yang Di Pertuan Agong ketika itu.
Bercakap dalam sebuah majlis di Kuala Lumpur hari ini, Dr Mahathir berkata, Yang di-Pertuan Agong ketika itu mahu Salleh disingkirkan.
Katanya, ia berpunca daripada aduan dibuat Salleh menulis surat kepada semua Sultan mengenai Agong ketika itu yang didakwa “terlalu bising dan mengganggu rumahnya”.
Agong ketika itu ialah almarhum Sultan Johor Sultan Iskandar Sultan Ismail.
“The Johor sultan never liked Salleh. He (Salleh) wrote a letter complaining about noise coming from his (Sultan’s) house.
“That was wrong. As a senior person, you can go see the Agong directly… but Salleh wrote the letter and copied it to every sultan.
“The Johor Sultan, who was the Agong, was annoyed and said this is the wrong thing to do, and he asked me to dismiss Salleh,” kata Mahathir
Mahathir said he brought the matter up with the Cabinet but it decided that Salleh cannot be arbitrarily dismissed.
“You cannot dismiss just like that. There needs to be a tribunal and I told the Agong this; he said okay, we will set up the tribunal,” he added.
Dr M made the ‘principal complainant’
However, Mahathir said when the tribunal was finally set up, the attorney-general at that time made him the ‘principal complainant’.
“He did not want to mention the Agong’s name in the tribunal so he said it was me, that I wanted Salleh to be dimissed.
“He used speeches made by Salleh against me which I did not know about to show the tribunal that Salleh was against me and it was me who decided he should be dismissed,” he added.
Mahathir was quizzed about his role in undermining the country’s judiciary.
Salleh’s sacking in 1988 was widely seen as a retaliation by Mahathir for a court ruling which deregistered Umno as a political party.