Bar Council President Ambiga
Sreenevasan should be considered as a member of Royal Commission of Inquiry
on the Lingam Tape to ensure its acceptability, credibility and legitimacy
Media Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
In completely excluding the Bar
Council members as members of the Royal Commission of Inquiry in the
Lingam Tape, the government is only undermining its own case and cause
that it is concerned about the restoration of national and international
confidence in the independence and integrity of the judiciary.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said
yesterday that there was no possibility that Bar Council members could
become royal commissioners themselves.
He said: “There is no chance of that happening. How can they act fairly
and be unbiased if they have already marched against the judiciary. They
have already made their stand.”
This is classic perverse illogic. The 2,000 lawyers who participated in
the historic “March for Justice” in Putrajaya on 26th September 2007 did
not march against the judiciary. They marched against a judiciary which is
subservient, decadent and corrupt. But they also marched for an
independent, honest and incorruptible judiciary.
Going by Nazri’s perverse illogic, isn’t the Executive itself compromised
by the 19-year history of a tainted judiciary, because of the acts of
omission and commission by the Executive, which should render the
Ministers unfit and unqualified to exercise powers to appoint members of
the Royal Commission concerned about the independence and integrity of the
Cabinet Ministers cannot feign innocence in the nearly two-decade-long
ravages and degradation of the Judiciary as they are fully part of the
process in the undermining of the independence of the judiciary and the
undermining of the fundamental doctrine of the Separation of Powers among
the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary.
Let good sense prevail. The Bar Council should not only be allowed to take
part in the Royal Commission hearings, the Bar Council President Ambiga
Sreenevasan should be seriously considered as a member of the Royal
Commission to ensure its acceptability, credibility and legitimacy.
Nazri’s statement yesterday is a cause of concern for he seems to confirm
the worst fears about the Royal Commission of Inquiry – that it would have
very narrow and restricted terms of reference.
In declaring that the government was happy with the present system of
appointing judges despite calls to set up an independent judicial
appointments and promotions commission, Nazri might have inadvertently
disclosed the restrictive nature of the Royal Commission’s terms of
If so, then the terms of reference and scope of power of the Royal
Commission of Inquiry when announced will only spark a new outrage and
controversy inimical to the speedy restoration of national and
international confidence in the independence and integrity of the
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman