It is indeed a privilege to have been called upon by the Bar Committee to pay this tribute to Dato’ Haji Sauffee in this Reference being held before your Lordships.
Dato’ Haji Sauffee Afandi bin Mohamad a man of humble origin who hailed from Mersing has had a successful working life starting first as a trained teacher in 1972 after graduating from GAYA Teachers Training College, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
In 1975 he enrolled as a student at the University of Malaya and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in International Relations.
His first appointment was as an Assistant Superintendent of Royal Customs & Exercise Department, Johor Bahru. He was thereafter appointed as an Assistant District Officer Kuala Langat, Selangor for a period of (3) years from November 1975 – October, 1977.
He had a brush with law when he was seconded as a first class Magistrate (Lay Magistrate) in November, 1977 and posted first to Malacca and later to Johor Bahru and it was then that I got to know Dato Hj. Sauffee.
His intense patriotism led him to join the Malaysian Territorial Army Regiment and on 7th February, 1980 he was commissioned with the rank of Lieutenant by the DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Dipertuan Agong.
Fuelled with ambition and having had a taste of being a lay Magistrate he decided to take a 2nd Degree resulting in him enrolling at the University of Malaya in 1980 and graduating with an LL.B degree in March 1984. Then began his successful career in the Judicial and Legal service where he held several positions his first being that of a Magistrate in Johor Bahru from April 1984 to May 1985.
Between the period May, 1985 to August, 1996 he served various positions namely as:-
Deputy Public Prosecutor, Johor,
Federal Counsel (Advisory), Public Services Department Kuala Lumpur,
Deputy Public Prosecutor, Pahang
Federal Counsel AG Chambers Kuala Lumpur
Senior Assistant Registrar, High Court Johor Bahru
Sessions Court Judge, Johor Bahru
Head of Research and Translation Bureau, Supreme Court, Kuala Lumpur
Deputy Registrar (1) High Court, Johor Bahru
He was a well respected DPP. Lawyers pitted against him in criminal matters found it hard to get an acquittal as he was always well prepared and thorough in the presentation of his case. He told me personally that he has in Court faced all the top criminal lawyers in the country including the late Karpal Singh. One of the highly publicized case he handled as DPP was the murder case known as “Tragedi Salmah”.
The vast experience that he had acquired through the various positions he held was recognized when he was appointed as a Special Officer to Y.A.A. Chief Justice of Malaysia, Federal Court, Kuala Lumpur from September, 1996 to June, 1998. Thereafter he served as a Sessions Court Judge Batu Pahat from August, 1998 to June, 2000.
The final position he held was as a Senior Sessions Court Judge, Johor Bahru from June 2000 to February, 2003. It was during this period that he was on the 3rd January, 2003 called to the Malaysian Bar as an Advocate & Solicitor.
He retired from the Judicial and Legal service on 18th February, 2003 and was with the firm of M/s Reginald Vallipuram & Co. for a short period from June 2003 to September, 2003. He left private practice as he was appointed Chairman of the Industrial Court Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur which appointment he held until 30th September, 2007. Thereafter he rejoined the firm of M/s Reginald Vallipuram & Co. as a partner until 31st October, 2012 when he commenced his own practice under the name of Sauffee Afandi & Co.
Dato’ Haji Sauffee was a well liked person. He had friends all over the country and from all walks of life ranging from high ranking government and Judicial officers to those in the lower ranks. He was very popular with the lawyers so much so that when he attended Bar functions even after retiring from public service the Committee always accorded him a special seat notwithstanding that he was a junior at the Bar.
He was helpful and many people sought his aid when in trouble and after giving them a stern warning he would assist within permitted limits. As a Sessions Court Judge he successfully mediated a number of cases that came up before him for hearing. He was also a sympathetic person who tried his best particularly in accident cases not to allow the Plaintiff to return empty handed.
On the social side he was talented with a great passion for music and often thrilled those present with P. Ramlee Songs.
For his distinguished service to the country he received the following awards:-
- i) Darjah Kebesaran Mahkota Pahang Yang Amat Mulia – Peringkat Kedua Darjah Indera Mahkota Pahang (DIMP) (Yang merembawah Gelaran Dato’).
- ii) Pingat Kesatria Mangku Negara (KMN) dari Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong.
iii) Pingat Darjah Setia Negeri Sembilan (DNS) dan D.Y.M.N. Yam Tuan Besar Negeri Sembilan.
Dato’ Haji Sauffee had heart problems and I understand from his wife Datin Rohana that his first by-pass was when he was in his early thirties. Notwithstanding the health set-back which troubled him thereafter he has worked hard and his tenacity and perseverance has taken him to many heights which I have highlighted.
Finally the life of a well liked and well respected person ended on 11th March, 2015 when he passed away peacefully at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital.
He leaves behind his wife Datin Hajah Rohana Binti Ahmad, his son Azmeen Afandi, his son Azlan Afandi who is with the Johor Civil Service, his daughter Aizan Suhaira and finally his youngest daughter who is well known to us Puan Azureen Sahira who is currently serving as a Magistrate and whose appointment to the Judical and Legal services made Dato’ Haji Sauffee very happy. He also leaves behind (5) grandchildren, a host of relatives and countless close friends from all walks of life and we all miss him as he has touched our lives in one way or another.
I had a long and close relationship with Dato’ Haji Sauffee and have plenty laudable things to say about him but due to constraint of time will end with how his family has chosen to remember him. Despite all the wonderful things that could be said about him, this is how his family choose to remember him – the IT-blind man who accidentally ‘selfied’ using his children’s phones; the man who was not aware that he had a huge mole on his head and asked to take a picture of it, the man who chuckled gleefully when he saw the said mole, the man who enjoyed the forbidden teh tarik and roti canai without fail.
May I pray my Lords that a copy of these proceedings be preserved in the archives of this Court and a copy thereof be despatched to Datin Hajah Rohana the beloved wife of the Late Dato’ Haji Sauffee Afandi bin Mohamed. May Dato’ Haji Sauffee Afandi bin Mohamed rest in peace. Much obliged My Lords.
(Speech at Reference Proceeding held on 1st June 2016 at the Johor Bahru High Court)