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“Unbecoming, irregular and improper” are three adjectives which best characterize government and Independent Panel responses in the latest developments on the Lingam Tape scandal
(Parliament, Thursday) : “Unbecoming, irregular and improper” are three adjectives which best characterize government and Independent Panel responses in the latest developments on the Lingam Tape scandal.
It was the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz who was doubly “unbecoming” in launching a tirade against the Bar Council and Malaysian lawyers for their historic march for justice yesterday from the Palace of Justice to the Prime Minister’s Department in Putrajaya despite unwarranted police obstructions and in dismissing the Bar Council’s memorandum to the Prime Minister calling for a Judicial Appointment Commission.
Nazri had alleged that the lawyers’ march in Putrajaya yesterday was “unbecoming” while proclaiming: “There is no crisis in our judiciary. No crisis, no problems. I don’t see any scandal.”
What makes Nazri think it is beneath the station of lawyers to be involved in a march for justice?
The 2,000 lawyers and supporters of the cause of justice have done themselves and the nation and the 50th Merdeka anniversary proud in the March for Justice in Putrajaya yesterday, in the true tradition of the great marches in the struggle of humanity for justice and freedom, like Gandhi’s Salt March in 1930 to help free India from British colonial rule and Martin Luther King’s March on Washington for Freedom in 1963 which culminated in his electrifying speech “I Have A Dream”.
Gandhi and Martin Luther King are now recognized by history and mankind for their great marches while their detractors, the Nazris of their era, have been forgotten!
It is also most unbecoming of Nazri to arrogate to himself the powers of the Prime Minister to dismiss offhand the Bar Council’s memorandum to the Prime Minister calling for a Judicial Appointments Commission or has Nazri been authorized to usurp the powers of the Prime Minister?
Nazri has also shown utter contempt for the other Cabinet Ministers who are treated as utterly irrelevant, incompetent and unfit to give any input on the Bar Council’s memorandum to the Prime Minister.
A lot of irregular things are happening in Malaysia today. It is irregular for the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to announce on Tuesday before the Cabinet meeting yesterday the decision to set up a three-man Independent Panel to investigate into the authenticity of the Lingam Tape.
Such a decision should be taken by the Cabinet or has the Cabinet been reduced to just a rubber-stamp for the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister despite all the talk about a functioning Cabinet where there is genuine power-sharing among the Ministers?
It is also most irregular for Tan Sri Haidar Mohamed Noor, Datuk Mahadev Shankar and Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye to meet informally yesterday in their prospective capacities as members of the three-man Independent Panel to investigate into the authenticity of the Lingam Tape when they had not received their letters of appointment and nobody, including the trio, knew about the actual terms of reference of the panel! They are expected to receive their letters of appointment and be informed of the panel’s terms of reference later today.
Haidar said yesterday that the panel would need help from third parties.
He said: “The panel’s job is to determine whether the clip is authentic or not.
“Being laymen, we will need people to come forward and assist us on this point.”
It is not a question of asking technical people to “assist” the panel but to do the entire job of the panel to determine its authenticity, which would have been the first task of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape scandal.
Is the three-man panel just going to adjourn and close shop and report accordingly to the government, ignoring all the explosive revelations about the perversion of the course of justice such as fixing of judicial appointments and manipulating court judgments?
Isn’t this reducing a very grave issue about the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary into pure farce?
There is also gross impropriety – particularly with Haidar, as Chief Registrar of Supreme Court at the time who played a major role in the 1988 Judicial Crisis resulting in the arbitrary and unconstitutional sacking of Tun Salleh Abas as Lord President and Datuk George Seah and the late Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawanteh as Supreme Court judges now heading an Independent Panel concerning the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary.
It is no exaggeration to say that if Haidar in 1988 had not been a party to the “mother” of all judicial crisis in 1988, the high international reputation and esteem of the Malaysian judiciary would have probably remained intact as the arbitrary and unconstitutional sacking of Tun Salleh as Lord President and Datuk George Seah and the late Tan Sri Wan Suleiman as Supreme Court judges might have been averted and the country saved from a generation of seismic shocks caused by one judicial crisis after another.
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