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  Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Monday, 11th February 2008 at 11 am:

Lingam Tape RCI should subpoena Justice Syed Ahmad Idid to testify on his 112 allegations against 12 judges about bribery, corruption and abuse of power which he had written anonymously in 1996

The testimony by the 13th witness to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Lingam Tape, Thirunama Karasu, the estranged brother of the �star� of the inquiry, senior lawyer V.K. Lingam, about bribery and corruption of judges including the then Chief Justice, of free gifts, hand phones, cash and other goodies to judges in 1966 would have reminded political leaders, Parliamentarians, judges and lawyers of the notorious �Ides of March� speech in 1966, when the then Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah shocked Malaysians with the revelation of a 33-page poison-pen letter which made 112 allegations of corruption, abuses of power and misconduct against 12 judges at the Conference of Judges in Kuching in March 1996.

Publicly issuing a directive to the police to launch investigations to �ferret out� and �bring to justice� the �conspirators� and �brutish beasts�, Mohtar Abdullah said:

�The investigation is aimed at striking at the venomous elements that are out to discredit the judiciary and subvert justice in our beloved country.

�As Attorney-General and Public Prosecutor, it is my duty and responsibility to ensure that the judiciary and the legal profession be cleansed of these treacherous elements who, by their vile, insidious, devious and scurrilous allegations in this pamphlet had sought to undermine the integrity of the judiciary and the administration of justice in this country.

�Today is the Ides of March. But unlike that fateful day in ancient Rome, when brutish beasts succeeded in killing Caesar, today we launch this pre-emptive strike at these conspirators and Insya Allah, we will ferret them out, whoever they are, and bring them to justice.�

Four months later, Abdullah announced the close of the case when he revealed that a high court judge was the one behind the 33-page poison-pen letter against the judiciary and that the judge concerned had resigned.

The judge was then High Court Judge Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid Syed Abdullah Idid, who became a victim to a Malaysian system of justice which was completely divorced from the most rudimentary concept of justice.

Syed Ahmad Idid came out of the woodworks more than a decade later, to reveal in an interview last year that his allegations were never really investigated. This was confirmed by former Attorney-General Tan Sri Abu Talib who lamented that �on the other hand, the poor judge wrote it was investigated�.

I had raised Syed Ahmad Idid�s case in Parliament in 1996 and again more than a decade later in March last year calling for a re-opening of investigations into his serious allegations in view of their grave and adverse implications about judicial independence and integrity as well as to restore justice to the judge � but to no avail.

Now that the 1996 allegations of judicial bribery, corruption and abuse of power have surfaced at last week�s public hearing of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape, I call on the Royal Commission of Inquiry Chairman Tan Sri Haidar Mohd Noor and the other four Commissioners to subpoena Syed Ahmad Idid to testify on his 112 allegations against 12 judges about bribery, corruption and abuse of power in 1996.

Syed Ahmad Idid was the first judicial whistleblower who was victimized and punished instead of being rewarded for his act of supreme loyalty to his oath of office as a judge.

If Syed Ahmad Idid�s whistleblowing had been heeded, resulting in thorough investigations and root-and-branch reform of the judiciary 12 years ago, Malaysian judges, lawyers and citizens would have been able to stand tall in the world today because of a judiciary nationally and internationally respected for its independence, integrity and quality!

This has become an even greater challenge to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Lingam Tape which, in the final analysis, must be fully conscious of its historic role and opportunity to end the rot in the judiciary - and a subpoena of Syed Ahmad Idid is a necessary process to exorcise the rot and corruption of the judicial past for the Malaysian judiciary to turn over a new leaf.

The question is whether the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape is bold, public-spirited and nationalistic enough to rise to the challenge or it will cower and back off from such a historic opportunity and challenge to right one of the fundamental wrongs of Malaysian national and institutional integrity.

* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman


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