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End the rigmarole of the Nazri flip-flops, lame-duck Haidar Panel and Cabinet micro-managing of Lingam Tape inquiry by just setting up Royal Commission of Inquiry to restore world-class judiciary
(Parliament, Thursday) : Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has done a triple flip-flop in four days.
On Sunday, he said that the probe into the Lingam Tape will come to a dead end if the witnesses who can verify it do not come forward to establish its authenticity.
He also assured witnesses and whistleblowers of “full government protection, including a change of identities if necessary”, declaring: “I guarantee that we will protect the sources. Trust the government to do so.”
However when he found that the Witness Protection Act or Bill which he had quoted as authority for such protection does not exist, Nazi said on Tuesday that he would present a strong case to the Cabinet to provide protection for the people behind the recording of the Lingam Tape.
He said: “The panel's investigation will not be able to progress if the protection is not provided. We will not then be able to get to the bottom of this. The panel will be rendered useless.”
However, Nazri sang a different tune after the Cabinet meeting yesterday.
He said: “We will assist but first we have to establish what type of protection these people want.
“If it is anonymity, it can be arranged. If it is security, it can be arranged, but we have to know.”
It is most shocking that Nazri could be so ignorant that what the informants want is full immunity from any prosecution, protection from persecution and victimization from the powers-that-be and that there should be no cover-up of the Lingam Tape scandal of perversion of the course of justice with judicial appointments and judge-fixing.
Nazri said the Cabinet had decided to assist the Haidar inquiry panel investigate the Lingam Tape in whatever way it could. If the panel had difficulty getting those behind the video clip to come forward to be interviewed, it could ask for the government’s help.
“If the panel faces difficulties in concluding investigations, it could submit a report to us and we will assist in whatever way possible.”
It is outrageous that three weeks after the disclosure of the Lingam Tape, the Cabinet is still studiously avoiding the core issues of the Lingam Tape scandal on judicial misconduct and perversion with the course of justice – focusing all the attention on the authenticity of the Lingam Tape which could be established through forensic voice and tape analysis.
The inescapable conclusion is that the Cabinet is buying time until the other main character of the Lingam Tape scandal, Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Halim has retired from the highest judicial office in the land at the end of the month, hoping that the whole scandal will blow over after that.
If so, this is to the discredit of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who had pledged a clean, incorruptible, accountable, trustworthy administration four years ago.
The message Malaysians want to send to the Prime Minister and the government is: End the rigmarole of the Nazri flip-flops, lame-duck Haidar Panel and Cabinet micro-managing of Lingam Tape inquiry! Just set up the Royal Commission of Inquiry to restore a world-class judiciary, leaving the question of the authenticity of the Lingam Tape to be handled by the Royal Commission.
It is late but not too late for the three members of the Haidar Panel to salvage their reputation by resigning and disbanding the Inquiry Panel, which is headed for an ignominious end in the annals of inquiries in Malaysian history.