Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Lingam Tape Scandal: Govt's 3-Member Panel is a National Joke

From Malaysiakini: Read here full article

"We have NO power !"
Haidar Mohd Noor
Head, 3-Member Panel

Excerpts: Read here for more

The three-member panel probing the authenticity of the 'VK Lingam' video admitted that it is powerless, including in compelling witnesses to come forward or to extend protection for them.

We have no power,” was the blunt remark from panel head Haidar Mohd Noor,the former Chief Judge of Malaya.

Haidar was repeatedly asked why witnesses would want to testify before the panel if they cannot be accorded any form of protection.

Haidar also said that it does NOT plan to call senior lawyer VK Lingam to appear before the panel because it is “not our role” to do so.

On the criticisms regarding the panel’s limited terms of reference, Haidar said: “(We have to go) step by step and then leave it to the government to decide.”

Haidar also did not reveal in detail as to how the panel was going to technically verify the authenticity of the clip.

The panel has 30 working days from Sept 27 - the day they were appointed by Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak - to complete its task. The time frame could be extended if need be.

One senior lawyer had commented that the three personalities to the composition of the panel are NOT acceptable.

- Haidar Mohd Noor was involved in the 1988 Judicial Crisis

- Lee Lam Thye has no legal training.

- Mahadev Shankar served under Tun Eusoff Chin, and also in the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the black-eye incident involving the former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim which only implicated the then Inspector General of Police, but took no action against police officers who were present at the time the former IGP Ramli assaulted Anwar.

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  • From Amer Hamzah Arshad: Read here for more
  • "...Say NO to the appointment of the panel of inquiry by the Deputy Prime Minister (‘the Executive Appointed Panel’) which is supposed to look into the authenticity of the scandalous ‘VK Lingam tape’.

    The reason for my strong objection to this executive appointed panel is one of logic and common sense.

    One does not need to be a legal scholar to see that the formation of such a panel is dubious or questionable at best and that there are flaws inherent in such an appointment.

    The Executive Appointed Panel was not set up pursuant to any Act of Parliament -unlike a Royal Commission which derives its jurisdiction and powers from the Commissions of Enquiry Act 1950 (the Act),

    The setting up of the panel and the appointment of its members are highly suspect as they are operating in a vacuum.

    Thw panel is devoid of any legal powers like that of a Royal Commission.

    It has no power to, inter alia,
    - summon witnesses,
    - procure evidence,
    - issue a warrant of arrest or even protect witnesses.

    The panel is nothing more than another executive committee set up under the auspices of the Deputy Prime Minister.

    There are many concerns and questions that have been raised by the public which should be addressed in a transparent and open forum whereby anyone who is implicated or concerned in the matter is able to engage a counsel to represent his interest in the inquiry as provided in the Act.

    Lest we forget, it is the semblance of impartiality that is important.

    And this is what the present panel is lacking by virtue of its questionable formation...."

  • From MP Lim Kit Siang Read here for more

  • "... Two questions uppermost in the minds of Malaysians who want to be able to be proud again about the Malaysian judiciary:

    1. Will the Haidar inquiry drag its feet until after next month when the Chief Justice Tan Sri Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim would have retired from the highest judicial office of the land, justifying the stance that the whole issue had become quite academic.

    2. Will the Haidar Inquiry end up as the biggest sham of all inquiries in five decades of Malaysian nation-building, furnishing excuse for inaction by Cabinet because there is no concrete proof either way of its being authentic or otherwise?

      The Haidar Inquiry, with its ridiculously narrow term of reference, restricted investigatory powers and the unsuitability of Tan Sri Haidar Mohd Noor as its chairman is a farce and should be disbanded without wasting any more time or public funds.

      Instead a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape and rot in the system of justice concerning the ravages and destruction of the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary in the past 19 years must forthwith be established without any delay. ..."

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