Notice for urgent
parliamentary debate on unacceptable chairman and unsatisfactory terms of
reference of Royal Commission of Inquiry into Lingam Tape scandal
by Lim Kit Siang
I have today given notice to
the Parliament Speaker, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah to move an urgent motion on
Monday for a debate on the unacceptable chairman and unsatisfactory terms
of reference of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape
My motion for an urgent debate reads:
“That the House gives
leave to Ketua Pembangkang YB Lim Kit Siang to adjourn the House under S.O.
18 (1) to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance – the
Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into Lingam Tape video clip scandal
announced by the Prime Minister on Wednesday.
“The appointment of Tan Sri Haidar Mohd Noor as Chairman of RCI into the
Lingam Tape scandal and the commission’s restricted terms of reference are
most disappointing and a great letdown for Malaysians who had looked
forward to a new page for Malaysia’s judiciary and administration of
“Haidar is clearly not acceptable or suitable to be Chairman of the RCI
into the Lingam Tape scandal in view of his disgraceful role in the 1988
Judicial Crisis over the sacking of Tun Salleh Abas as Lord President and
two Supreme Court judges, Datuk George Seah and the late Tan Sri Wan
Sulaiman Pawanteh – the ‘mother’ of a string of judicial crisis in the
past 19 years which rocked the country with repeated erosion and ravages
of the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary.
“It is most regrettable that eminent and credible Malaysians whose
appointment would have enhanced public confidence in the RCI had been
omitted, such as the Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Dr. Nazrain Shah, former
members of judiciary, Tun Dzaiddin, Shaikh Daud, N. H. Chan, Visu
Sinadurai and distinguished Malaysians like Tunku Aziz, Raja Aziz Addruse,
Param Cumaraswamy, Yeo Yang Poh and Chooi Mun Sou.
“Parliament must urgently debate the very restricted terms of reference of
the RCI so that the once-in-a-generation golden opportunity should not be
missed to put right what had been wrong and rotten with the system of
justice for nearly two decades to restore confidence in the independence
and integrity of the judiciary.”
I call on all MPs, including
Barisan Nasional MPs, to give support for an emergency parliamentary
debate on the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape scandal on
It is imperative that the Royal Commission of Inquiry should have the
widest ambit to restore national and international confidence in the
Malaysian judiciary – as the Royal Commission of Inquiry would then be a
great ally of the new Chief Justice Datuk Abdul Hamid Mohamad who vowed to
carry out a “house-cleaning” of the judiciary after being sworn in as the
highest judicial officer of the land on Tuesday.
Abdul Hamid is the first top judicial officer to admit to the rot in the
judiciary which has plunged national and international confidence in the
system of justice to the lowest point in the 50-year history of the
nation, and the rot in the judicial system is most vividly described by
the Chief Justice when he said:
“I am aware that this appointment is a heavy burden on me. It is more so
when it happens at a very challenging time, that is, when public
perceptions of the judiciary are disturbing, when the integrity of the
courts in the administration of justice is doubted, when appointments and
the behaviour of judges and their commitments in the discharge of their
duties, are all being questioned.”
Describing the judiciary as the last frontier of a nation, he said: “When
the people no longer have confidence in the courts, there will be chaos.
“The independence of the judiciary means giving decision in a case based
on law and evidence adduced in court without being influenced or pressured
by any party.”
All MPs and Malaysians should give full support to Abdul Hamid’s bold
admission of the rot in the administration of justice and his vow to
“house-clean” the judiciary.
I do not doubt Abdul Hamid’s sincerity, honesty or seriousness of purpose.
However, I am very pessimistic at any prospect of success of such a
“house-cleaning” by Abdul Hamid for two reasons:
Firstly, Abdul Hamid will create history as the top judicial officer of
the land who will serve for the shortest period, as he will be Chief
Justice for only four months, reaching his retirement age by 18th April
2008, and even with a six-month extension till 18th October 2008, the
longest period Abdul Hamid will serve as Chief Justice will be 10 months.
In fact, it is no exaggeration to describe Abdul Hamid as an “accidental
Chief Justice” as the powers-that-be had never intended for him to become
Chief Justice – and he would not have ascended to the highest judicial
post in the country if not for a combination of unexpected events outside
the control of the powers-that-be.
Secondly, will Abdul Hamid get full support from the full bench of judge
at all three tiers of the judiciary, Federal Court, Court of Appeal and
High Court, for a root-and-branch “house-cleaning” of the judiciary?
The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape scandal can play an
important role to assist the Chief Justice in “house-cleaning” of the
judiciary to carry out a root-and-branch eradication of the rot in the
system of justice – but this is only possible if it has the widest ambit
in its terms of reference to restore national and international confidence
in the judiciary as well as having an impeccable composition of
commissioners headed by a Chairman who could command instant confidence
and even awe – which is the very reverse in the case of Haidar.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman