Royal Commission of Inquiry –
did Cabinet make the decisions on terms of reference and composition which
are to be announced by the Prime Minister or the Cabinet merely decided that
these decisions are to be taken at the next Cabinet meeting?
by Lim Kit Siang
Malaysians are utterly confused
as to what the Cabinet decided on the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the
Lingam Tape and the Judiciary yesterday.
Did yesterday’s Cabinet, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib
Razak as the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawai was in
Singapore for the ASEAN Summit, make the decisions on the terms of
reference, scope of power and composition which are to be announced by the
Prime Minister – as was the impression given by the Minister in the Prime
Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz in his comments to the press
at the Parliament lobby?
Or did the Cabinet yesterday just decided that decisions on these aspects
of the Royal Commission of Inquiry are put off to the next Cabinet
meeting, as appears to be gist of what Abdullah said in Singapore last
Whatever the case, it paints a picture of a bumbling and shambolic Cabinet
which is neither serious nor professional in handling vital national
issues, especially one so critical in determining Malaysia’s international
competitiveness such as national and international confidence in the
independence and integrity of the judiciary.
It has taken the Prime Minister and the Cabinet two months to decide that
there should be a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape, when
this would have been the right, proper and immediate thing for a
government which is serious about accountability, integrity and good
governance to do.
Why is the Abdullah government continuing to drag its feet on the Royal
Commission of Inquiry, as if this is the least of its concerns?
Furthermore, why has the Haidar Panel Report not yet been made public,
another implicit undertaking of the Prime Minister? What has the
government got to hide in refusing to immediately making public the Haidar
Special Cabinet meetings outside the weekly Wednesday meetings had been
held before. This is one subject whose import would justify a special
Cabinet meeting so that the necessary decisions could be taken if they had
not been taken yet – and I call on Abdullah not to delay any further but
to act decisively to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry with
untrammeled powers not only to investigate into every aspect of judicial
impropriety disclosed in the Lingam Tape but also probe into the 19-year
series of crisis of confidence on the independence and integrity of the
judiciary so that judges, lawyers and all Malaysians can feel proud again
about the Malaysian judiciary and system of justice.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman