Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Saturday, 26th
Is a RCI on the RCI on Lingam Tape needed now in order to
restore national and international confidence in the independence,
integrity and quality of the Malaysian judiciary?
The second-week proceedings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI)
into the Lingam Tape has delivered three body blows undermining the
commission’s public credibility as an independent and fearless agency
to restore national and international confidence in the independence,
integrity and quality of the Malaysian judiciary.
The first blow stems from the continued testimony of senior lawyer V.
K.Lingam, coming on the heels of former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir
Mohamad and former Chief Justice Tun Eusoff Chin, turning the Royal
Commission of Inquiry into a public circus to the extent that a
Malaysian quiz could be created to ask who had respectively been
responsible for the following unforgettable words:
“Correct, correct, correct”;
“No, No, No”;
“Coincidence, coincidence, coincidence”; and
“Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit”.
Malaysians are astounded as to how the Royal Commission of Inquiry
had allowed the “star witness” of the “it looks like me, it sounds
like me but I will not say 100% that it’s me” quote to turn it into a
circus – reflecting adversely not just on Lingam but even more
seriously, on all the five Commissioners.
The language used by Lingam in his testimony at the RCI on Lingam
Tape was unprecedentedly offensive in any court or public hearing –
and which would have been disallowed as “unparliamentary” in
Parliament. In fact, the language used was so unprintable for polite
society that two leading dailies had to use asterisks for part of the
word instead of printing it in full!
The second blow was the ruling of the RCI limiting its scope to
judge-fixing and not cases-fixing, or to use Datuk Mahadev Shankar’s
colourful description, to completely exclude the “pom, pom, pom, pom
The third blow was the RCI’s decision not to be “that open anymore”
to “prevent baseless and wild allegations from making way into the
The commission secretary, Datuk Abdullah Sani Ab Hamid said: “It’s
not going to be that open anymore, like previously. It’s not nice for
the news to come out first and then only it is (evidence) decided
whether it is relevant to the terms of reference of the inquiry.
“The commission must determine first the questions to be asked so
that unrelated matters are not brought up.”
Why has the RCI taken the fatal step to retreat from openness,
accountability and transparency and resorted to the culture of secrecy
like in camera proceedings just to hear submissions by counsels
for Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Lingam’s
brother Thirunama Karasu whether they should be called to testify at the
The commission said it wanted to make sure that allegations that had
nothing to do with the video clip would not be included as evidence.
Why can’t this process be carried out openly and transparently as the
Royal Commission of Inquiry is also accountable and answerable to the
court of public opinion whether it had diligently carried out its
underlying terms of reference to restore national and international
confidence in the independence, integrity and quality of the judiciary
or whether it has abdicated from its national duty by giving the
narrowest interpretation of its scope of deliberations?
The RCI’s view that “it’s not nice for the news to come out first and
then only it is (evidence) decided whether it is relevant” must be seen
in the larger perspective whether it is nice for Malaysia and its
judiciary to be pilloried nationally and internationally as a
laughing-stock for 19 years for its fall from grace as a globally-recognised
judiciary of independence, integrity and competence!
The RCI into the Lingam Tape should reconsider its decision to
restrict the scope of its terms of reference as to completely exclude
the “pom, pom, pom, pom part” as well as to resort to closed-door
proceedings to decide on the relevance of summoning or allowing
witnesses to help in its inquiry.
The entire in camera proceeding of the RCI yesterday should
be adjourned to a public hearing for all the arguments to be made again
in public before the RCI comes to any decision.
It will be sad and tragic if public confidence in the RCI into the
Lingam Tape plummets to a stage where a national consensus is reached
that what is needed now is a RCI on the RCI on Lingam Tape to restore
national and international confidence in the independence, integrity and
quality of the judiciary!
Kit Siang, Parliamentary
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman