Will the crisis of judiciary
balloon into Abdullah’s first major crisis of confidence because of Haidar
Panel finding and government attempt to bury the Lingam Tape scandal as a
by Lim Kit Siang
With five days to go for the
three-man Haidar Panel to complete its finding, the Panel will go down in
the nation’s history as the most useless and impotent inquiry with the
least to do and the least expected of it in view of its ridiculously
narrow and restricted term of reference to establish the authenticity of
the Lingam Tape with its explosive expose of the perversion course of
justice with serious allegations of fixing of judicial appointments and
With the retirement of Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim as Chief
Justice without any extension, the powers-that-be may be minded to think
that this is opportune time to lay to rest the controversy of the Lingam
Tape which was released by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Sept. 18.
Two weeks ago, the de facto Law Minister, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz appeared
to be coaching the Haidar Panel on its finding when he said that it would
be “unfortunate if the mechanism (Haidar Panel) set up is not used by the
people” as “we may conclude there is no case”!
Is the Haidar Panel being coached by Nazri to come out with the finding
that the Lingam Tape is a non-issue as no witness has come forward to
vouch for its authenticity?
Although such a final finding by the Haidar Panel would come as no
surprise, it would nonetheless be a scandal of the first magnitude for it
is just outrageous that a panel to establish the authenticity of the
Lingam Tape had no independent powers of investigations but must depend
solely on the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) for its technical expertise and
When Osama bin Laden occasionally emerged from his hideout to issue dire
warnings to the United States government in his videotapes, no one from
the White House, FBI or CIA would take the position that unless Osama or
some witness surface to vouch for their authenticity, or unless the
original tape is produced, the tapes concerned would be regarded as fakes!
Why then are the Malaysian Cabinet Ministers and the various government
agencies, including the Haidar Panel, taking such a ridiculous stand?
In the process of establishing the authenticity of a tape, forensic
investigations including voice and image matching to determine whether
there had been any “doctoring” are important, but equally pertinent is
content-analysis with regard to the issues discussed.
As the Haidar Panel has been stripped of all powers to call witnesses to
undertake a “content analysis” of the Lingam Tape to help establish its
authenticity, it is no exaggeration to describe the Haidar Panel as having
both its hands and feet fully tied from the first day of its formation.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will be making a
fatal error of judgment if he thinks that just because Fairuz, believed to
be the other person at the other end of the Lingam Tape, is no more Chief
Justice, the entire Lingam Tape scandal can be buried with the Haidar
Panel finding that it could not establish the authenticity of the tape –
and burying in the process all the serious allegations about the
perversion of the course of justice in recent years which have brought the
Malaysian judiciary and system of justice to such disrepute, both
nationally and internationally.
The Haidar Panel cannot establish the authenticity of the Lingam Tape. It
also cannot establish that the Lingam Tape is not authentic, of being a
fake or having been tampered or doctored.
It is the latter fact that is important, as in the absence of any finding
that the Lingam Tape is fake or “doctored”, there should be no further
delay for the Prime Minister to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry
into the Lingam Tape as well as the restoration of public confidence in
the independence, integrity and quality of the judiciary.
Otherwise, what is a scandal affecting the judiciary and directly Lingam
and Fairuz would balloon to a major national crisis of confidence
implicating the government and the Prime Minister, making it the first
mega Abdullah scandal?
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman