Cabinet must prove Mahathir
wrong that it is “half-past six” by establishing a wide-ranging and
unfettered Royal Commission of Inquiry on Wednesday to deal with the
root-and-branch problem of 19-year crisis of confidence in the judiciary and
not just deal with the “tip of the iceberg” of the Lingam Tape
Media Conference (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
The Cabinet must prove Tun Dr.
Mahathir wrong that it is “half-past six’ by establishing a wide-ranging
and unfettered Royal Commission of Inquiry on Wednesday to deal with the
root-and-branch problem of the crisis of confidence in the judiciary going
back for 19 years and not just deal with the “tip of the iceberg” of the
International Islamic University constitutional law expert Professor Dr.
Abdul Aziz Bari is right in his interview with New Sunday Times yesterday
in describing the Lingam Tape as “just the tip of the iceberg” after the
state of the judiciary after 1988.
This led to the question – “If the video clip is the tip, what is the
iceberg?” and the following answer:
“A: How the people are
selecting the judges, how the judges are having behind-closed-door
relationships with lawyers, and how lawyers manage to predict or determine
the outcome of cases.
“This is something very serious when it comes to suits. If this is the
case, then people won’t have confidence in the judiciary.
“The judiciary’s strength is the public’s confidence. In law, you don’t
have to establish bias: if the person cannot convince you of his or her
integrity, then he’s got to disqualify himself.
“The mere likelihood (of bias) is good enough to establish a real bias.
The moment it (the confidence) is lost, it is difficult to get it back.”
Earlier in the interview, there
was a specific Q & A on the “scope of the inquiry”, viz:
“Q: What should be the
scope of the inquiry?
“A: Since the matter is very much connected to independence, integrity and
corruption, then these are the things that should be looked at, not just
to establish whether the video clip is authentic.”
The de facto Law Minister,
Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has stated his position many times that he saw
nothing wrong with the judiciary apart from the isolated case of the
Lingam Tape incident.
It would appear that Nazri had been sleeping for 19 years about the state
of the judiciary in the country.
The question is whether all the other Ministers in the mega-Cabinet of 33
are of the same mind as Nazri, also sleeping through the past 19 years of
the two-decade-long crisis after crisis over the independence and
integrity of the judiciary, completely unaware or dared not be aware of
the repeated plunge in national and international confidence in Malaysian
Furthermore, will the Cabinet on Wednesday limit the Royal Commission of
Inquiry just to the Lingam Tape instead of giving it completely unfettered
powers to deal with the branch-and-root problem of the 19-year crisis of
confidence in the judiciary, confirming beyond a shadow of doubt
Mahathir’s condemnation of it as a “half-past six Cabinet”?
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman