Press Statement by Karpal Singh in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 26th January 2010:
AG should institute criminal proceedings against V.K. Lingam
The Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, has responded to my request for issuance of a fiat to prosecute Datuk V.K. Lingam under section 379 [With the permission in writing of the Public Prosecutor an advocate may be employed on behalf of the Government to conduct any criminal prosecution or inquiry, or to appear on any criminal appeal or point of law reserved on behalf of the Public Prosecutor. The advocate shall be paid out of the public funds such remuneration as may be sanctioned by the Minister of Finance and while conducting such prosecution or inquiry, or appearing on such criminal appeal or point of law reserved, shall be deemed to be a “public servant”] of the Criminal Procedure Code by letter received by me yesterday.
The argument of the Attorney-General in not being able to provide or to issue a fiat to me under section 379 relates to conduct of a criminal prosecution. It does not provide for the institution of a criminal prosecution. Such provision is found in Article 145(3) [The Attorney-General shall have power, exercisable at his discretion, to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence, other than proceedings before Syariah Court, a native court or a court-martial] of the Federal Constitution read with section 376 (1) [The Attorney-General shall be the Public Prosecutor and shall have the control and direction of all criminal prosecutions and proceedings under this Code] of the Criminal Procedure Code. Hence, argues the Attorney-General, the issuance of a fiat to conduct a criminal prosecution under section 379 of the Criminal Procedure Code does not arise.
The argument of the Attorney-General is purely legalistic. However, what is of more significance is that there is sufficient material in the recommendations of the Royal Commission of Enquiry for institution of criminal proceedings by the Attorney-General against V.K. Lingam at least for sedition for bringing into contempt the administration of justice in the country through what is, clearly, apparent in V.K. Lingam’s conversation in the now infamous V.K. Lingam video clip that he was brokering appointment of judges via handphone in the presence of a client whose son recorded the event.
It is not too late for the Attorney-General to review his position and institute criminal proceedings against V.K. Lingam on a charge of sedition following which I could be allowed to conduct prosecution of V.K. Lingam if the Attorney-General is not minded to do so himself or through any Deputy Public Prosecutor in his chambers.
* Karpal Singh, DAP National Chairman & MP for Bukit Gelugor