PETALING JAYA: Former Supreme Court judge Datuk George Seah, who was one of three judges sacked during the 1988 constitutional crisis, has died at the age of 81.
Seah, who had suffered from heart complications, died early yesterday at home.
“He had been in hospital for the last two weeks and was very ill.
“But he managed to pull through and was discharged on Friday.
“We were watching TV together that night when he started having shortness of breath and then he was gone,” said his daughter Agnes, 46, a project manager.
Her father had suffered a stroke in 2005, she said.
He leaves behind four children and three grandchildren aged 17, 15, and seven.
Seah was born in Miri and was the first member of the Sarawak Bar to be elevated to the Bench.
He was called to the English Bar by the Honourable Society of the Lincoln’s Inn in September 1955 and was a private practitioner until he became a judge in 1969.
Besides Seah, those sacked were Supreme Court judge Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawanteh and then Lord President Tun Salleh Abas.
Three other Supreme Court judges were suspended in 1988 when they issued an order to delay a tribunal set up to try Salleh over alleged misconduct.
Salleh had earlier written to the King on behalf of the judges expressing disappointment with accusations made by then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad against the judiciary.
In 2008, then Cabinet minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim pressured the administration to make an open apology to those judges, and then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi obliged.
Goodwill ex-gratia payment to Seah, Salleh, Wan Suleiman and the three suspended judges (later reinstated) were made as remuneration.
When contacted yesterday, Salleh said he was saddened by news of Seah’s demise.
“He was a good judge, very straight, very dedicated.
“He made great contributions to the development of the law until his last days.
“It was a big loss to the judiciary when he was dismissed with me,” he said.
Former Court of Appeal judge Datuk K.C. Vohrah said Seah was a man of principle and integrity with an insistence to do right.
Source: The Star
Published: Sunday, 21 April 2013
By: NICHOLAS CHENG