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For the sake of Malaysia, Haidar, Mahadev and Lam Thye must return their letters of appointment to Najib and ask for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape, the allegations of fixing of judicial appointments and court decisions and the 19-year rot in the judiciary
(Parliament, Thursday) : The three-man Haidar Inquiry into the authenticity of the Lingam Tape yesterday asked the person who recorded it and others who have relevant information to come forward "for the sake of Malaysia".
Panel member and former Court of Appeal judge said: "Somebody out there (has) the original video. Does he have the responsibility (to come forward)? There may have been others who were there (during the incident). Have they got the responsibility?
"If you don’t come, don’t complain, because at the end of the day, our report is based on the material made available to us."
It is the three panel members Tan Sri Haidar Mohamad Noor, Datuk Mahadev Shanker and Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye who should set the example of acting “For the sake of Malaysia” by returning their letters of appointment to the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to ask for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape, the allegations of the perversion of the course of justice concerning the fixing of judicial appointments and the fixing of court judgments as well as into the 19-year rot in the judiciary.
With the declaration of five “No”s – no power to administer oaths, no power to compel witnesses to come forward, no power to commit anybody for contempt, no immunity under the law and no power to protect witnesses, the Haidar panel is swiftly degenerating from a farce into a joke.
It is balderdash to plead “The truth is the best armor, justice is the best protection” or to trot out philosophical arguments about “the power of the powerless” as counterpoint to the absence of protection for witnesses who appear before the panel.
If all the judges at all levels of the judiciary in the past 19 years had been guided by the noble objective “For the sake of Malaysia” and the principle that “the truth is the best armor, justice is the best protection”, the system of justice and national and international credibility in the independence, integrity and meritocracy of the judiciary would not have plunged to such a sorry state with one judicial crisis after another in the past 19 years.
What happened to a courageous judge, Justice Syed Ahmad Idid Syed Abdullah who in 1996 tried the blow the whistle in his 33-page anonymous letter containing 112 allegations of corruption, abuses of power and misconduct against 12 judges?
Is the government seriously concerned in wanting to establish the authenticity of the Lingam Tape? Is the government really committed to restoring national and international confidence in the independence, integrity and meritocracy of the judiciary in setting up the Haidar panel inquiry?
Why then is the government not prepared to establish the Haidar Inquiry under the Commission of Inquiry Act to give protection to witnesses or at least come out with a policy statement by the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail that in the national interest, no one will be prosecuted or suffer adverse consequences for any information or testimony presented to the inquiry panel?
Can Malaysians be blamed for being skeptical about the government’s bona fides, when the government cannot rebut two overpowering arguments:
· Cabinet Ministers are only concerned about the technical aspect about the authenticity of the Lingam Tape – i.e. whether the government can find the excuse not to do anything on the ground that there is doubt about its authenticity - while being completely oblivious to the grave and even more substantive issue about the perversion of the course of justice in the fixing of judicial appointment and fixing of judicial decisions; and
· Total denial complex about the 19-year plunge in national and international confidence in the independence, integrity and meritocracy of the Malaysian judiciary.
The supreme example of acting “For the sake of Malaysia” under the principle “The truth is the best armor, justice is the best protection” is for all the three panel members to end the charade of the panel inquiry into the authenticity of the Lingam Tape and to convey in the strongest possible terms to the Prime Minister that what is urgently needed for the country is a Royal Commission of Inquiry both into the Lingam Tape scandal and the 19-year rot in the system of justice in Malaysia which has gravely undermined Malaysia’s international competitiveness.
Mahadev had made a contentious statement when he said: “Don’t throw stones at us until we have finished our inquiry.”
I presume I am one such “stone-thrower” as I had questioned the suitability, credibility and legitimacy of Haidar’s appointment as Chairman and member of the inquiry panel in view of his far-from-honorable role in the 1988 “mother-of-all-judicial crisis” when he was Chief Registrar of Supreme Court leading to the sacking of Tun Salleh Abas as Lord President and Datuk George Seah and the late Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawanteh as Supreme Court judges.
Datuk Param Cumaraswamy, former UN special reporter on the independence of judges and lawyers and immediate past president of the Bar Council during the 1988 judicial crisis, recently revealed a 19-year secret that he had approached the then Acting Lord President Tun Hamid Omar to withdraw from chairing a tribunal that led to the removal of his boss Tun Salleh Abas.
Param revealed in a recent forum:
“We went to see
Hamid to advise him not to accept the position for the obvious reason that
he was next in line. I advised Hamid ‘please don’t (accept), you will cause
a very ugly embarrassment to the judiciary.”
Is Haidar motivated by similar considerations in refusing to decline his appointment on the panel inquiry?
Haidar has said that his “conscience is clear” on his role in the 1988 Judicial Crisis. If so, why is Haidar fighting shy of fully accounting for his “honorable reasons” in the infamous judicial events in 1988?
Would Hamid admit to a “troubled conscience” for his role in the sacking of Salleh Abas as Lord President and Datuk George Seah and Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawanteh as Supreme Court judges and would it be in order for Hamid to chair an inquiry to restore national and international confidence in the independence, integrity and meritocracy of the Malaysian judiciary?
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman