De facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim says judges asked that the amount not be announced
THE government may reveal the quantum of ex gratia paid to former judges in about three to six months, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim yesterday.
He said the government had agreed not to announce the quantum following a request from the judges.
The recipients are former lord president Tun Salleh Abbas, former Supreme Court judges Datuk George Seah, Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, Tan Sri Wan Hamzah Mohamed Salleh and the families of the late Tan Sri Suleiman Pawanteh and Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader.
"It is not our intention to keep it secret... maybe in time we will announce it. Maybe in three or six months," Zaid said when replying to points raised during the debate on the Judges' Remuneration (Amendment) Bill 2006.Several senators while debating the bill had attacked the decision not to disclose the amount of ex gratia.
Datuk Syed Ali Syed Abbas Alhabshee said as the money belonged to taxpayers, "the public has a right to know".
"What is the public to make of this?" asked Datuk Musa Sheikh Fadzir.
"On one hand we promote transparency but on the other we are doing our best to keep the information under wraps.
"Zaid told senators the government had the right to keep the payment under wraps if it chose to, adding: "There are some areas where the government does not have to divulge information."
2008/07/25 NST Online