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The greatest service the Haidar Panel can do to the cause of justice is for its three members to resign en masse and to ask the Prime Minister to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape scandal and to restore public confidence in the independence, integrity and meritocracy of the judiciary
(Parliament, Wednesday): Sin Chew Daily and China Press reported today that the Haidar Panel into the authenticity of the Lingam Tape, which was supposed to meet for the second time today, has postponed its second meeting indefinitely.
China Press reported that the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA)’s inability to complete its investigations into the Lingam Tape as the reason for the postponement of its second meeting today, which was fixed when the Haidar Panel met for the first time on October 3.
It is three weeks since the Haidar Panel’s appointment by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Sept. 27 to complete its terms of reference within a month. The Haidar Panel took one week to prepare for its first meeting on Oct. 3, after which it went into hibernation for two weeks leaving all the legwork to the ACA.
China Press reported that the next meeting of the Haidar Panel may be on Oct. 27, the last day of its one-month life tenure.
In the past fortnight, the three-man Haidar Panel disappeared from public view completely upstaged by the two-act histrionics of the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, viz:
During the period, the ACA had issued an ultimatum to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice president R. Sivarasa and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s personal assistant Sim Tze Tzin to reveal the source of the Lingam Tape or face prosecution and jail – with both defying the ultimatum.
With ten days left before its deadline of Oct. 27 to submit its report, who believes that the Haidar Panel is capable of submitting any report to authenticate the Lingam Tape after hibernating in the past three weeks and relying completely on the ACA to do all the legwork and refusing to call in technical experts to verify its authenticity without having to demand for the source of the recording?
It is significant that there has been no clarification from any official quarter about Najib’s statement on Oct. 3 that the Haidar Penal was not to call any witness, although after its first meeting the same day, the Haidar Panel called on witnesses to come forward despite its admission of the farcical “Five No’s” – no power to administer oaths, no power to compel witnesses to come forward, no power to commit anybody for contempt, no power to provide immunity and no power to protect witnesses.
It may be said that the Haidar Panel would have achieved its purpose if the real objective of those who appointed it was for it “to fail to authenticate” the Lingam Tape by October 27.
In fact, the government should explain why it is necessary to set up the Haidar Panel to establish the authenticity of the Lingam Tape, as it should be left to the ACA if all the investigation is to be done by the ACA. Or is it because the powers-that-be are not very sure about the reliability of the ACA on the matter of establishing the authenticity of the Lingam Tape, if the ACA is allowed to carry out its investigations without any interference whatsoever?
The Haidar Panel should realize that it lacks public confidence and credibility, both in terms of its narrow scope of term reference which served the purpose of shifting the focus of the Lingam Tape scandal on the independence, integrity and meritocracy of the judiciary, as well as on the integrity of the Panel membership, in particular the conflict-of-interest role of Tan Sri Haidar Mohd Noor because of his past and present positions.
The greatest service the Haidar Panel can do to the cause of justice is for its three members to resign en masse and to ask the Prime Minister to end the state-of-denial and establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape scandal and to restore public confidence in the independence, integrity and meritocracy of the judiciary.