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Lingam Tape Another Three Nos added to Haidar Panels Five Nos of not knowing whether Ahmad Fairuz at end of the phone, whether Lingam was real and not knowing whether video clip is genuine!

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Media Statement (3)         
by Lim Kit Siang  
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(Parliament, Friday): How pathetic! After three weeks, no one has come forward to give information to the Haidar Panel on the Lingam Tape!

This itself speaks louder than anything about the confidence the Haidar Panel commands among the Malaysian public concerning its credibility, independence, authority and legitimacy which is zero!

The Haidar Panel has proved to be very creative in interpreting its month-long duration to complete its narrow term of reference to establish the authenticity of the Lingam Tape from Sept. 27 to 30 working days rather than 30 calendar days stretching its tenure to November 8, after the retirement of Tun Ahmad Fairuz as Chief Justice unless he gets an extension.

The Haidar Panel had started with the infamous Five Nos 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 appears to have acquired another Three Nos after three weeks - not knowing whether Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz was at end of the phone, not knowing whether senior lawyer V.T. Lingam who appeared in the tape was the real one and not knowing whether the video clip is genuine!

We are now told that the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) is sending the Lingam Tape to experts in Hong Kong to determine its authenticity.

Why did the ACA waste one whole month since the public expose of the Lingam Tape by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Sept. 19 before seeking expert help to determine its authenticity?

Why the Haidar Panel didnt simply asked Lingam and Ahmad Fairuz to state whether they admitted or denied the veracity of the Lingam Tape?

Or the Haidar Panel didnt even have such powers to ask?

Today, the Minister in the Prime Ministers Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who seemed to have been assigned a new portfolio of being the Minister responsible for the Lingam Tape, disclosed a new gem of information.

Nazri said: The panel does not have the power to investigate unless it gets the consent of the attorney-general.

Nazri made this statement when he said that the Haidar Panel would have to depend on ACA investigations if no one volunteers to provide information on the authenticity of the video clip.

This is a most ludicrous situation. The Haidar Panel is appointed as an Independent Panel, but one attribute it clearly does not possess is being independent.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had publicly said that the Haidar Penal was not to call any witness. Now it is revealed that the Haidar Panel does not have the power of investigations unless it gets the consent of the Attorney-General.

What are its other limitations or un-doubles which have not been revealed?

What is the role of the Police in the Haidar Panel inquiry, as the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan also turned up at the first meeting of the panel, apart from the Attorney-General and the ACAs No. 2.

It is ridiculous that the Haidar Panels job is reduced to accepting or rejecting the ACAs investigations on the authenticity of the tape. The ACA is supposed to be an independent and professional body, working according to the highest standards of investigation.

It is a serious aspersion on the professionalism of the ACA that its investigations should be subject to the second-guessing of the three-man Haidar Panel whose members enjoy no expertise whatsoever in the field.

The rigmarole of feet-dragging over a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape and the pressing issue of restoration of confidence in the independence, integrity and meritocracy of the judiciary had been dragged out for too long and in the national interest, the Prime Minister should establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry without any further delay.
 

(19/10/2007)  


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

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