Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Credibility of the Royal Commission of Inquiry Severely Compromised by Tan Sri Haidar

From Malaysiakini and Malaysian Bar Council websites

Tan Sri Haidar’s sister was married to the late brother of Tun Ahmad Fairuz.

This fact was NOT disclosed by Tan Sri Haidar when he was appointed to the Royal Commission of Inquiry.

Photobucket Tan Sri Haidar is the Chairperson of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the Lingam Video Clip scandal engulfing the former Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz.

Tan Sri Haidar’s sister was married to Ahmad Fairuz’s elder brother. Both Tan Sri Haidar and Ahmad Fairuz share a niece from that marriage.

This piece of information was NOT made known to the public when Tan Sri Haidar accepted the position to head the Royal Commission.

Whichever way Tan Sri Haidar tries to argue himself out of this, the fact remains there was, and there still is a family connection, between the Chairperson of the Royal Commission and Ahmad Fairuz, one of the two central figures in the scandal, notwithstanding his elder brother has since died and Tan Sri Haidar's sister-in-law has remarried.

Since the relevation, Tan Sri Haidar has REFUSED to recuse himself from the Royal Commission.

Recent decisions by Tan Sri Haidar and the Royal Commission during the course of the royal inquiry have already led Malaysians to raise doubts on the independence and neutrality of the Commission towards finding the truth behind the scandal.

Tan Sri Haidar's reason not to recuse himself because he had “hardly had any contact” with Ahmad Fairuz is weak and insufficient given the gravity of the allegation of a corrupt and rotten judiciary by the Malaysian public.

The fact Tan Sri Haidar hid from the public that he had prior familial relations with Ahmad Fairuz is a grievous error.

As it stands now, it is unavoidable the public perception is that the Royal Commission is now undesirably tainted.

The Royal Commission and its members must be seen above board. There should not be any cause for the public to perceive its neutrality and independence has been compromised.

He must recuse himself now to avoid the Royal Commission being portrayed as biased and subjective in its findings and conclusions, and thus making a mockery to an august institution that bears the word
- Malaysian Unplug

Excerpts on the above issue: Read here and here for more

".... Karpal Singh as lead counsel for Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s team informed the Commission that he was making an application to disqualify Tan Sri Haidar. The reason, he said, was a serious one – Tan Sri Haidar’s sister was married to the late brother of Tun Ahmad Fairuz.

He submitted that the relationship ought to have been disclosed at the very outset and it was unethical for a judge, and the same principle applies to members of the Commission, not to have disclosed this fact.

It was revealed that Haidar was a ‘close relative’ to former chief justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim. Haidar’s sister was married to Ahmad Fairuz’s elder brother, who has since died. She has been remarried.

The Commission (was informed) that the relationship (between Haidar's elder brother and Tun Fairuz's sister) ended in 1973 and that they had one daughter as a result of that marriage. Accordingly Tan Sri Haidar and Tun Ahmad Fairuz shared a niece from that marriage.

Karpal Singh then said that this is a Royal Commission of Inquiry and nothing should be hidden. He said he wished to know why this was not disclosed.

He said that Tun Ahmad Fairuz is a vital witness to these proceedings. Karpal said that there is more than suspicion here and that it is a real likelihood of bias and this should have been disclosed.

In turning down the application for his to recuse, Haidar said he “hardly had any contact” with Ahmad Fairuz.

In my honest view, I was of the opinion that the relationship ended 30 years ago. I hardly had any contact with Ahmad Fairuz and his family other than when I was working together with him on the bench. In such circumstances, I don’t see any valid ground to recuse myself and the application is dismissed,” Haidar said after hearing submission from Anwar’s newly-appointed lawyer Karpal Singh.

Malaysian Bar counsel Robert Lazar said the legal profession body’s position was that Haidar should have disclosed the relationship, especially after lawyers representing NGOs Suaram and Hakam raised the matter in chambers with the commissioners.

Karpal expressed his surprise that the Commission had met counsel for SUARAM and HAKAM without the presence of the other parties and enquired why this was done. Tan Sri Haidar said that they wanted to see him and that he had seen them in the presence of the other Commissioners and the DPP.

Haidar was also a trustee at the Perdana Leadership Foundation which is headed by ex-premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was also a witness at the inquiry. Another witness, business tycoon Vincent Tan - whose name was mentioned several times in the video clip - is also a trustee in the same foundation.

Haidar was the judge in the Raphael Pura defamation case where corruption claims in judiciary were ruled to be irrelevant.

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