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Lingam Tape: has Nazri let the cat out of the bag - no further inquiry unless its authenticity can be fully determined with the makers showing up
(Parliament, Monday) : Has the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, let the cat out of the bag – that there would be no further inquiry into the Lingam Tape if its authenticity could not be fully determined with the maker of the tape showing and owning up?
New Straits Times front-page headline has put it most bluntly: “NO SOURCE, NO CASE – SAYS NAZRI”
If the whole idea is to stymie any full inquiry into the serious allegations of the Lingam Tape about the perversion of the course of justice concerning the fixing of judicial appointments and the fixing of court decisions, this is as good a stratagem as any.
Of course, even if the makers of the Lingam Tape show up, there is no guarantee that it would be followed up with a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape and the rot of the judiciary in the past 19 years since 1988.
I am completely baffled by Nazri’s reference to the Witness Protection Act (Star, Sun) which he said assured protection to the person or persons who took the Lingam Tape. New Straits Times reported him as referring to the Witness Protection Bill, “tabled recently in Parliament” – which is untrue, as no such bill had been tabled in Parliament.
I had been pressing for a Whistleblowers Protection Act to give meaning to a national campaign to expose corruption, misuse of funds, government scandals, criminal breach of trust and all forms of malpractices and abuses of power but the government had been dragging its feet and there are no signs that the government is ready to present a Witness Protection Bill to Parliament.
It is the height of responsibility for Nazri to give assurance of protection under a law which does not exist, but it is an even greater height of irresponsibility to envision a scuttling of all investigations into the Lingam Tape, its allegations of perversion of the ceruse of justice and the rot of the judiciary in the past 19 years under a “No Source, No Case” scenario.
If the Prime Minister and Cabinet are serious about restoring national and international confidence in the independence, integrity and meritocracy of the judiciary after the ravages of 19 years, an important element to enhance our international competitiveness, the Lingam Tape should be sufficient ground for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry unless there is evidence that it is complete fake.
Let the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullahh Ahmad Badawi confirm whether what Nazri disclosed represents his official position – that unless the maker or makers of Lingam Tape show up, further inquiries into the Lingam Tape will ground to a halt. This will indeed be a national shame and tragedy.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman