A Reference in memory of former Lord President, the late Tun Mohamed Suffian Hashim who passed away on 26th September, 2000 at the age of 82 was held at the Federal Court on 16 March, 2001.
The proceedings were presided by the Chief Justice of Malaysia, the Right Honourable Tan Sri Mohamed Dzaiddin bin Hj. Abdullah and with His Lordship on the Bench were, the Chief Judge of the High Court in Malaya and acting Court of Appeal President, the Right Honourable Tan Sri Dato’ Wan Adnan bin Ismail, the Chief Judge of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak, the Right Honourable Datuk Steve Shim Lip Kiong, Federal Court judges, the Honourable Dato’ Haji Abdul Malek bin Haji Ahmad, the Honourable Dato’ Ahmad Fairuz bin Dato’ Sheikh Abdul Halim, the Honourable Dato’ Siti Norma bt. Yaakob and the Honourable Tan Sri Datuk Seri Mohtar bin Abdullah.
During the Reference, the Right Honourable Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Mohamed Dzaiddin bin Haji Abdullah, the Chief Justice of Malaysia, the Honourable Dato’ Seri Ainum bt. Mohd Saaid, the Attorney General of Malaysia and Tuan Haji Sulaiman Abdullah, President of the Malaysian Bar paid glowing tributes to the late Tun Suffian.
For the first time in living memory, every available seat of the Federal Court was occupied by a specially invited guest, and for the record, we publish below the full list of persons (other than those named above) who attended the historical Reference:
Kith & Kin
1. Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Dato’ Ir. Talha Hj. Mohd. Hashim
2. Puan Sri Datin Miti Aishah binti Ariffin
3. Tuan Haji Ajidan bin Hj. Mohd. Hashim
4. Encik Zaidi bin Hj. Mohd. Hashim
5. Y.M. Tunku Dato’ Dr. Sofiah Jewa
6. Y.Bhg. Dato’ Dr. Hj. Yaacob Hussain Merican
7. Encik Megat Shaharuddin Merican
8. Puan Jasmin binti Jamaluddin
9. Encik Megat Suffian Merican
10. Puan.Fateh Hanum binti Khairuddin
Judges of the Court of Appeal
1. The Honourable Dato’ Hj. Shaik Daud bin Hj. Md. Ismail
2. The Honourable Dato’ Gopal Sri Ram
3. The Honourable Tuan Denis Ong Jiew Fook
4. The Honourable Dato’ Abdul Hamid bin Hj. Mohamed
5. The Honourable Dato’ Mohd. Saari bin Yusoff
6. The Honourable Dato Haji Abdul Kadir bin Sulaiman
Judges of the High Court & Judicial Commissioners (based at Kuala Lumpur & Shah Alam)
1. The Honourable Dato’ K.C. Vohrah
2. The Honourable Datuk Wira Hj. Mohd Noor bin Hj. Ahmad
3. The Honourable Dato’ Abdul Aziz bin Mohamad
4. The Honourable Dato’ Faiza bin Hj. Tamby Chik
5. The Honourable Dato’ Azmel bin Hj. Maamor
6. The Honourable Dato’ Haji AbdulMalikbin Hj. Ishak
7. The Honourable Dato’ Hj. Arifin bin Haji Jaka
8. The Honourable Dato’ Selventhiranathan a/i Thiagarajah
9. The Honourable Datin Paduka Rahmah bt. Hussain
10. The Honourable Dato’ Hj. Yaacob bin Hj. Ismail
11. The Honourable Dato’ Wira Hj. Mohd. Ghazali bin Hj. Mohd. Yusoff
12. The Honourable Dato’ Low Hop Bing
13. The Honourable Dato’ Hashim bin Dato’ Hj. Yusoff
14. The Honourable Dato’ Kang Hwee Gee
15. The Honourable Dato’ Zulkefli bin Ahmad Makinudin
16. The Honourable Datuk Abdul Wahab bin Patail
17. The Honourable Datuk Kesturi Lal Rekhraj
18. The Honourable Dato’ Kamalanathan all Ratnam
19. The Honourable Datuk Augustine Paul all Sinnappen
20. The Honourable Dato’ Wan Adnan bin Muhamad
21. The Honourable Datuk Abdul Hamid bin Said
22. The Honourable Datuk Ramly bin Haji Ali
Parliament (Senate President & Speaker of Dewan Rakyat)
1. The Honourable Dato’ Michael Chen Wing Sun
2. The Honourable Tun Dato’ Mohamed Zahir bin Ismail
Federal Cabinet Ministers
1. The Honourable. Dato’ Dr. Rais bin Yatim
2. The Honourable Tun Dato’ Daim bin Zainuddin
3. The Honourable Dato’ Hishamuddin bin Tun Hussein
Former Lord President
1. The Honourable Tun Dato’ Hj. Mohd Salleh bin Abas
Former Chief Judge of the High Court in Malaya
1. Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Dato’ Hj. Anuar bin Dato’ Hj. Zainal Abidin
Former Chief Judge ofthe High Court in Sabah & Sarawak
1. Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Datuk Amar Hj. Mohamad Jemuri bin Serjan
Former Judges of the Federal Court
1. Y.Bhg. Datuk George Seah
2. Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Datuk Mohamed Yusoff bin Mohamed
3. Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Dato’ Hj. Mohd. Azmi bin Dato’ Hj. Kamaruddin
4. Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Datuk Harun Mahmud Hashim
5. Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Dato’ Edgar Joseph Jr.
6. Y.Bhg. Wira Wan Yahya bin Pawan Teh
7. Y.Bhg. Dato’ Zakaria bin Mohd. Yatim
Former Judges of the Court of Appeal
1. Y.Bhg. Dato’ Mahadev Shankar
2. Y.Bhg. Dato’ V.C. George
Former Judges of the High Court
1. Y.Bhg. Dato’ Suleiman bin Hashim
2. Y.Bhg. Dato’ Lim Beng Eng Choon
3. Y.Bhg. Tuan OÃ±g See Seng
4. Y.Bhg. Dato’ Syed Ahmad Idid bin Syed Abdullah Idid
Members of the Diplomatic Corp
1. American Ambassador His Excellency Mr. Lynn Pascoe
2. Australian High Commissioner His Excellency Mr. Peter Varghese
3. British High Commssioner His Excellency Mr. G.H. Fry
4. Canadian High CoinmissionerHerExcellency MadamJeanMc Closkey
5. Indian High Commissioner Her Excellency Mrs. Veena Sikri
6. New Zealand High Commissioner Her Excellency Miss Sarah Denis
7 . Pakistan High Commissioner His Excellency Mr. Musa Javed Chahon
8. Philippine Ambassador His Excellency Mr. Jofe S . Brillantes
9. Singapore High Commissioner His Excellency Mr. K. Kesavapany
10. Representative of Indonedian Ambassador Encik Erwin Shamsawir
1. Tuan Haji Sulaiman bin Abdullah
2. Tuan Haji Kuthubul Zaman bin Bokhari
3. Ms Catherine Eu
4. Mr. Roy Rajasingam
1. Mr. S. Ravichandaran
2. Mr. M. Puravalen
1. Y.Bhg. Dato’ P.G. Lim
2. Y.Bhg. Dato’ Kam Woon Wah
3. Y.Bhg. Dato’ Balwant Singh
4. Encik Zain Azahari bin Zainal Abidin
5. Mr. Chan Hua Eng
6. Mr. Chooi Mun Sou
7. Mr. Thomas Lee Mung Lung
8. Puan Hendon Mohamed
9. Y.Bhg. Dato’ Wong Soon Foh
10. Puan Zaitoon bt. Dato’ Othman
11. Y.M. Raja Aziz Addruse
12. Y.Bhg. Dato’ Param Cumaraswamy
13. Encik R.R. Chelvarajah
14. Y.Bhg. Dato’ Dr. Cyrus Das
15. Encik Zainur bin Zakaria
16. Encik Muhanimad Shafee bin Md. Abdullah
Attorney General’s Chambers
1. Y.Bhg. Dato’ Heliliah binti Mohd. Yusof
2. Y.Bhg. Datin Paduka Zaharah bt. Ibrahim
3. Y.Bhg. Dato’ Zaitun Zawiyah bt. Puteh
4. Puan Salmah bt. Abdul Rahman
5. Y.Bhg. Dato’ Abdul Gani bin Patail
6. Y.Bhg. Dato’ Azahar bin Mohamed
7. Puan Noraini bte Abdul Rahman
1. Y.M. Tengku Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Ahmad Rithauddeen
2. Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Dato’ Musa bin Hitam
3. Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Dato’ Abdullah Ahmad
4. Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Zainal Abidin Sulong
5. Y. Bhg. Tan Sri Abu Talib bin Othman
6. Y.Bhg. Dato’ Abu Bakar bin Awang
7. Tuan Haji Yussof bin Ahmad
8. Encik Ahmad Johari bin Razak
9. Mr. Michael Hague
Deans of Law Faculties
1. Prof. Dato’ Mimi Kamariah Majid
2. Prof. Madya Mohd Darbi bin Hashim
3. Prof. Madya Shamsuddin Suhor
4. Encik Khalid Yusoff
Representatives of Law Journals
1. Encik Hamid Ibrahim
2. Encik Nasser Hamid
3. Mr Ronald Tan
4. Encik Abdul Latiff bin Ibrahim
The Right Honourable, the Chief Justice of Malaysia, Tan Sri Mohamed Dzaiddin bin Hj Abdullah commenced the proceedings in the f ollowing words.
Sidang hadirin yang dihormati sekelian.
Saya ingin mengalu-alukan kehadiran dif-dif kehormat dan para tetamu ke majlis pagi ini yang diadakan khas untuk memperingati Allahyarham Tun Mohamed Suffian bin Hashim yang telah pulang ke rahmatullah pada 26 September 2000 yang lalu.
Untuk memulakan majlis ini, saya menjemput YBhg Peguam Negara dan kemudian Tuan Pengerusi Majlis Peguam Malaysia menyampaikan ucapan mereka.
In her tribute, Y Bhg, the Attorney General of Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Ainum bt Mohd Saaid said:
Yang Amat Arif Tan Sri Mohd Dzaiddin bin Abdullah, Ketua Hakim Negara, Yang Amat Arif Tan Sri Wan Adnan bin Ismail, Memangku Jawatan Presiden Mahkamah Rayuan, Yang Amat Arif Datuk Steve Shim, Hakim Besar Sabah dan Sarawak, Yang Arif Hakim-Hakim Mahkamah Persekutuan, Mahkamah Rayuan dan MahkamahTinggi,
Bagi pihak diri saya sendiri dan pegawai-pegawai di Jabatan Peguam Negara, saya merakamkan ucapan takziah kepada keluarga Allahyarham Tun Mohamed Suffian bin Hashim.
We are here to honour the memory of Allahyarham Tun Suffian who passed away on 26 September 2000. We are all saddened by his departure. He was, to many who are here today, and to many more who are not, a fellow citizen of enormous stature and capability, a colleague of inimitable competence, and most of all, a wise, kind and decent friend.
Tun Suffian was from humble beginnings. He was born in Kota Kiri Lama, Perak in 1917. His father was a Kadi. He was schooled in Clifford School, Kuala Kangsar and later went on a Queen’s scholarship to Cambridge University from where he graduated in Arts and Law. It was there that he met his prospective wife Allahyarhamah Puan Sri Bunny who in October 1997 preceded him in death. Later in 1941, he was called to the Bar of the Middle Temple, spent the war years until 1945 in All lndia Radio as Head of its Malay Section, worked with the BBC’s Malay Section in London until 1948, after which he returned to Malaya and entered the judicial and legal service.
His career in this service was outstanding, his promotions breathtaking. Having served as a magistrate, a Deputy Public Prosecutor, a Legal Advisor to two states, and having acted as a Senior Federal Counsel, he was appointed the Solicitor General in 1959. In 1961, he was made a High Court Judge, in 1973 the Chief Justice for West Malaysia and in 1974 the Lord President. He was the Lord President until his, retirement in 1982.
Tun Suffian’s years in the judicial and legal service were also the formative years for this newly independent nation. This was an era during which the bright and visionary in positions of leadership had very important roles to play and contributions to make. Tun Suffian was in that position. He applied himself in serving the nation with a dedication and integrity that few have since been able to emulate. In the early decades after independence, Tun Suffian was mainly responsible for determining the direction in which Malaysian law developed.
One of his main concerns was the place of the judiciary within the constitutional framework. In various forums and in several ways, he spoke about the need for an independent judiciary. He regarded this independence as a cornerstone of our constitutional arrangement. He also believed deeply in the importance of the role of law in our lives. He often called for a commitment to the rule of law which he regarded as a requirement fundamental for the existence of a true democracy.
It is a measure of Tun Suffian’s wisdom that in facing the challenges of the post independence years, he often sought to establish balance and fairness everywhere.
Hence, whilst seeking to establish and protect judicial independence, he demanded from his colleagues judicial accountability. He was always quick to point out that judicial malpractice should never be allowed to masquerade as independence for that would tear apart our constitutional fabric. He recognised that this constant search for balance would not be easy. Consequently, he always worked hard to bring about a political and professional culture which could assist him in finding and realising that balance.
As the obsequies and tributes since his death, much had been said about Tun Suffian’s integrity. These were not just mere flattery. Most people considered him trustworthy, a pillar of rectitude, modest and always imbued with an instinctive empathy for the plight of the common man.
As a judge, he usually displayed a patience and politeness in his court which were both awesome and endearing. Most people would agree that lurking behind that amiability was a mind as sharp and as alert as any in the field.
From fellow judges he demanded by setting the examples himself, incorruptibility, competence, sound judgment and impartiality. He believed that to avoid from being partial, one must develop for oneself high obligatory standards of fidelity to the law. To do this he wrote legally meticulous judgments, more than 200 of which have since been published in the Malayan Law Journal.
Rarely indeed was Tun Suffian ever been accused of being intolerant. If he ever was, it was aimed at perceived declining standards of judicial behaviour. Tun Suffian was an intolerant man as far as judicial waywardness was concerned.
Naturally, for a man with so many accomplishments, recognition came aplenty. Here are some of them.
He was conferred several honorary doctorates by local and foreign universities. He was also made a Pro-Chancellor of the University of Malaya in 1964 and he continued to participate in the activities of this University many years until his death. In 1975, he received the Magsasay Foundation Award for distinguished public service. In 1984, after his retirement, he became the first Malaysian to be made an honourary Master of the bench of the Middle Temple in England. He was also a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists. He was also a judge of the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour organisation, and a judge of the Administrative Tribunal of the World Bank. In themselves these appointments and conferments are testimonies about Tun Suffian’s enviable reputation internationally.
To our benefit, he was at the centre of our legal system for several decades. There he left enduring imprints, large and small. Like many leaders in the infant years of nationhood, he contributed towards laying the foundations for Malaysia. Characteristically, he did this with the least fanfare, infusing every idea and action he dealt with with reason and fairness. He opened every possible channel of communication to all around him. By doing so, he accomplished a feat so rare amongst people who lead - he tempered antagonisms and brought out the best in people. The first beneficiaries of this “culture” were of course the Bench and the Bar. Both received the respect of the world. The esteem which judges then enjoyed was as good as those enjoyed by judges in the developed world. This was underpinned by a culture of respect for the law which permeated the whole society. Of course this was not the work of one man alone. It was brought about by the hard work, dedication and sacrifices of many. But Tun Suffian’s role was central and pivotal. He was the beacon in the scheme of things. This perhaps was his greatest contribution to his country.
The passing away of someone who radiated so many positive influences into our lives can sometime expose us to sentiments of regret and morbid nostalgia. Death may be seen as signifying the end of a good era.
This should not be the case for us. Although towards the end of his life, Tun Suffian did express some reservations about the direction in which our law is heading, I do not think that he would have abandoned altogether his characteristic optimism for the law’s future. He would urge us to soldier on to protect and develop the legacy he had left us - a deep faith in the law, and an enduring belief in the values of kindness and fair play. He had shown us what qualities are needed to keep a nation proud and hold a nation together. These qualities are those of decency, trust, tolerance and mutual respect. This is his faith and legacy. Giving the legacy the recognition it deserves, will be the most lasting tribute we can pay to AllahyarhamTun Mohamed Suffian bin Hashim, a great judge and a very decent man. May the blessings of Allah be upon him.
Dengan penuh takzim, saya memohon supaya rekod prosiding ini diabadikan dalam arkib Mahkamah ini dan salinannya disampaikan kepada keluarga Allahyarham.
Related story: Tun Suffian Foundation Fund Raising Dinner