Monday, January 21, 2008

And The Winner Of The Lingam Inquiry Is... Pak Lah?!

In case you are out of touch, this piece is not about the popular chilli sauce brand of the same name... of course I'm talking about the VK Lingam video inquiry! True to my tradition, I jump in as people are getting a little less excited... no scrap that, I can see some people are probably more excited, but generally, everyone is getting more 'blur' about the whole inquiry.

As to how I am 'blur', as an Energy Economist, I wish to understand who benefits from the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the VK Lingam Video*. I mean come on, for what other reason would anyone pursue anything... to gain. We the public certainly wish to gain more insight on what the guy who looks like and talks like VK Lingam in the video is talking about.

But hold on, why do I as a member of the public want to know more about what he's talking about? Ah, perhaps I wish to be assured of the independence of the judiciary. Mmm... independence from what? Crime and criminal elements? Bias? Sure, this is of material concern to me. But the inquiry is on the appointment of judges. So how again is this going to benefit me?

Are our judges releasing criminals from judgement? No? Or perhaps we dislike some of their judgements. Are they too harsh or too lenient? Maybe they judge on principles we disagree with. Or maybe we don't like how they look, you know, in photos that show they may be biased. OK, I'm not really sure now why we don't like how judges are chosen, but lets just change the person picking them!

But the trial isn't about judges picked by Pak Lah, who as PM, currently does the picking of these judges. It's about judges picked by the former PM, Dr M. So the inquiry is about how the person who is no longer picking judges picked judges. OK, so why are we pursuing this? Ah, maybe by chasing the old PM we can make an example of him for the current and future PM.

Many people say Dr M seemed 'blur' also during his testimony, but...

I actually don't recall any major public outcry on judge appointments or any time the Malay Rulers did not approve Dr M's choice of judges when he was in power. OK, the Bar Council sometimes complained, but they're lawyers... A lot of noise over Tun Salleh Abbas' dismissal as Lord President, but the Agong consented even with that. No major issues on judicial appointments though.

Dr M testified that it was his perogative to choose whomsoever he pleases to be a judge. This is of course true. This is one of the functions we voted him in to perform as PM. And constitutionally, I suppose Dr M could have picked the man who used to sell him Apam on the recommendation of a regular Pekan Rabu beggar to be Chief Justice... assuming the Agong agrees of course.

From Dr M's testimony, Lingam's would have been just one of many voices he listened to. I would personally have chosen to investigate Dr M's driver - Dr M would have been listening to him all the time! Dr M listened to people and picked judges, it was his job, and if we didn't like how he picked judges, we should have voted him out no? But its too late! So, how does this inquiry benefit us again?

Actually, this being the Lingam inquiry, it should have come as no surprise to me that Lingam's testimony cause me to 'blur' the most. First, he claimed he did not know of any recording. The persons recording (businessman Loh Mui Fan and son) claimed it all happened, but now we have a case of he said-they said. Then of course, we have him saying he could have been drunk and talking rubbish.

Technical analysis proved that it was Lingam's voice on the tape (hence, "talks (rubbish) like me"). However, no one can say who was on the other side. (The person who looks like) Lingam on the video said (like Lingam) it was ex-Chief Justice Fairuz. Lingam testified he didn't know who it was. Is this rubbish? Was Lingam drunk when he testified? Is he drunk and talking rubbish all the time?

Now, if no technical evidence emerges to prove that Tun Fairuz was the person on the other line, the case will basically come down to this:
  • Even if Lingam was the person who looked and talked like him on the video, he may have been talking rubbish
  • He may have been talking rubbish to his brother (who is supposed to be nuts and hates Lingam) or someone else whilst claiming it was Tun Fairuz
  • His recommendations would be just one of many sorts of rubbish thrown at Dr M on which judges should be picked
  • Dr M is just as likely to pick anyone based on any old rubbish reason anyway as a judge for royal consent, and this would not be a crime

So, how would we benefit from knowing all this? Still blur...

Whilst we continue to blur on this, may I suggest we mull over who would definitely benefit from this trial:

Loh Mui Fan and son - actually I don't know how they benefit, but one does wonder... If he cared about the nation, the video would have come out years ago. Why didn't someone in the inquiry ask this question? The guy is a businessman who likes to bring wine to Lingam's house, perhaps because he enjoyed Lingam talking rubbish. So how does he benefit from this video's release now?

Anwar Ibrahim - The most publicity hungry politician in Malaysia was responsible for distributing the tape, and we thought it was for publicity. What he hopes to gain is apparent now that his lawyer is trying to get the inquiry to consider events in 1999. He's still gagging to clear his name from the corruption conviction (He's corrupt? No...) and the stain of being... you know (technically innocent though!).

The Malaysian Bar Council - They were the loudest in demanding the shortening of Tun Fairuz's tenure as Chief Justice. So, they must now prove that they were right, that Tun Fairuz was guilty of being under the influence of Lingam's rubbish. However, if the inquiry found Tun Fairuz likely to be innocent...

Pak Lah - Pak Lah? Sure, it's obvious he would benefit. Why would his government be allowing this rubbish to proceed without hindrance otherwise? Why is government controlled media covering this in such detail if he isn't benefiting? Having everyone focus on this historical rubbish is distracting everyone from the most politically motivated judicial appointment in Malaysian history.

Tan Sri Dato' Zaky Tun Azmi, former deputy chief of UMNO's Disciplinary Committee, stalwart UMNO lawyer, a noted expert in constitutional and election law, was 'parachuted' by Pak Lah into the post of President of the Court of Appeals on 5th December 2007, 2 months after being injected to the Federal bench, bypassing some 80+ other judges of more judicial experience in the process.

This appointment of Pak Lah's would hence likely be Malaysia's Chief Judge some time in 2008.

This blog reference gives more (scarier) info: http://asme.wordpress.com/2007/12/06/new-chief-justice/

So, isn't it wonderfull for Pak Lah that as his party really takes control of the judiciary, everyone is busy looking at an inquiry over a potentially drunk lawyer talking rubbish? Ergo, Pak Lah is probably the biggest beneficiary of this inquiry!

There is one potential spoiler though. I understand Tun Fairuz is pissed-off over his name being dragged through the mud over this. I wonder what Tun Fairuz would reveal on the stand. Would he reveal his correspondence with Pak Lah on Tan Sri Zaky's appointment? Would he reveal the instructions over the appointment of judges for Anwar's successful appeal from the 'other' conviction?

How indeed would anyone benefit then... blur, blur... rubbish!

*Commission of Inquiry of the Video Clip Recording of Images of a Person Purported to be an Advocate and Solicitor Speaking on the Telephone on Matters Regarding the Appointment of Judges Under The Commissions of Inquiry Act 1950.

1 comment:

azlina said...

i just don't read newspaper anymore. its has more rubbish now than before. its getting frustrating

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