Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, responding to allegations from retired judges last week that some of their colleagues were on the take, has ordered a thorough investigation into the charges. He also said the government might consider a special judicial commission to investigate and eradicate judiciary corruption. 'The allegations are being investigated and the public should wait patiently for the outcome,' he said. Corruption on the bench was long suspected, going by the way some high-profile judgments went, but the subject surfaced only last week when Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz publicly admitted he suspected corruption. 'Even if only a few judges are corrupt, the entire system would be affected,' he said. The New Straits Times, a government-linked daily, sparked debate with a front-page story on Thursday headlined, 'Justice for sale'. Lawyers and judges called for a thorough investigation and also demanded changes in the way judges were called. They are now nominated by the chief justice and confirmed by the government with the consent of King Syed Sirajuddin. Critics want a permanent judicial commission that is answerable to parliament to select judges. Two respected judges went public on Sunday, saying they had heard 'whispers' of corruption and received letters from litigants to that effect. During the tenure of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, a senior judge was removed from the bench after he wrote an anonymous letter, naming judges he alleged were involved in graft. 'The police investigated the letter writer, not the allegations that he made,' said retired judge Sheikh Daud in the Times on Sunday. 'If the courts are contaminated, where else can the people go?'