Tribute to the late Tan Sri Harun Hashim

- at the public meeting “Tan Sri Harun Hashim – A Great Malaysian Judge” held by the DAP
Ramdas Tikamdas

(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The late Tan Sri Harun Hashim’s career, service and contribution to the nation can only be described as singularly distinguished, colorful and an inspiration to the future generations of Malaysians. 

He carried with him always an aura of confidence borne of principle, respectability borne of a sense of duty and fairness borne of a simple sense of justice. And he was always himself for he had no need to be otherwise than he was. He was the same man in his court, on the field or at the club.


His was the same man discharging his duties independently, firmly and always fairly in ever higher office whether as Magistrate, Sessions Judge, prosecutor in the Attorney-General’s Department, Director-General if the Anti Corruption Agency, Judge of the High Court, Chairman of Royal Salaries Commission for Statutory and Local Authorities, President of the Industrial Court of Judge of the Supreme Court.


He was a happy working retirement as an educator in the International Islamic University and as Deputy Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia.


With his extraordinary vast and diverse experience gained in the course of a memorable journey of life, he always had a tale to tell in any personal encounter and I had many a good fortune especially at breakfast at hotels at Forums or Seminars and even when he was on circuit outstation as a Supreme Court Judge. And of course, the better in the evenings.


At his elevation as a judge, he spoke of what would always endear him to the people whom he touched. He said:


“An elevation from the Anti-Corruption Agency may not perhaps be the most ideal form of professional preparation for the high office but during the three years and more  that I was there I had the opportunity to study human nature at close quarters and the administration of justice is after all, about people – their rights and wrongs.”


Indeed in the discharge of his high office he always displayed an easy going understanding of human nature and one always come away from his court with a sense that his scales of justice was calibrated to the person before him and not some impersonal or technical set of rules or regulations.


At his elevation he remembered with pride his father Mr Justice Hashim, himself a great judge and he promised that he would be as impartial as his father. He kept his promise.


He further said:


“… I give my assurance that I will try to be as patient as possible. I will try to be interested in everything that anyone has to say and I will try to do my best to be just.”


Again he kept his promise and he was wont to say the he was in the business of listening as he had to discern the wood for the trees to dispense justice.


To me the strength of character and the greatness of the late Tan Sri Harun Hashim and his human nature is best illustrated by his last judgment before retirement. He had forgotten to decide on a case which he had tried many years before. The claimant and his lawyer had long passed in. The file was brought to him.


A lesser man might have been tempted to take the easy route and blur his mistake by dismissing the claim. But this great judge in the discharge of his last judicial act before retirement, notwithstanding that it would magnify his own wrong, decided in favour of the claimant who was now deceased, based only on his determination of the law and his sense of justice. He lived by principle till his last days.


At his funeral, a senior judge was heard to say he hoped he could go that way, he was an inspiration in life as he undoubtedly will continue to be for the future generations of Malaysians.


It’s an honour and a privilege.



* Ramdas Tikamdas, President of HAKAM