28 JANUARY 2008
The Haidar Commission in ruling not to admit evidence on fixing of court decisions has severely affected public confidence that the present administration is serious in restoring the rule of law in Malaysia.
It is disappointing to note that the Haidar Commission has ruled that I need not be called to provide evidence of corruption as indicated in the synopsis of my statement to be given to the Haidar Commission. I am certain that the evidence that I can give will be of significant assistance to the Haidar Commission to get the truth behind this dark patch in Malaysian judicial history.
The decision by the Commission to arbitrarily disallow me to testify would certainly lead one to the conclusion that some unseen hand is at work. This hand is so powerful that the Commission will stop at nothing to prevent me from giving evidence, even though the evidence concerned will definitely shed light on the testimony given so far. Instead of seizing the opportunity of the Inquiry to find the underlying cause of this scandal, the Commissioners, (in particular the Chairman Tan Sri Haidar), have chosen to fetter themselves with procedural legalities and restrictive interpretations as to what they can do and what they cannot do.
The purpose and objective of the Enquiry is to assure both the Malaysian public and foreigners that judges in Malaysia dispense justice without fear or favour. Unfortunately, instead of adopting a robust approach to surgically remove the cancer of corruption in the judiciary in all its forms, the Commissioners adopt at a restricted interpretation of its term of reference and thereby exclude investigation into the most malignant form of corruption that decisions of the Courts in Malaysia can be fixed. The crux of the matter is that the Lingam video shows that persons who are likely to be corruptible or are corrupted are appointed or promoted as judges. The Commissioners have fallen into serious error in only allowing evidence of brokering of judges’ appointments without allowing evidence of corruption to be admitted.
I had prior to the setting up of the Royal Commission warned that the terms of reference of the Enquiry must be sufficiently wide and clear to ensure that the public interests is served. This was not done. As a result of the poorly drafted and restrictive terms of reference, the Commissioners have now made a manifest error.
Obviously, in pursuing this farcical approach to justice, the Commission has not only deprived itself of the opportunity to get a better picture of the true state of affairs but is wittingly or unwittingly become complicit in the obstruction of justice. I use this term not in the restrictive legal context but in a wider ethical and moral context taking into account the legitimate expectations of the people. And it is the legitimate expectation of the people that the proceedings of the Inquiry be conducted so that justice is not only done but seen to be done.
I also call upon Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to take immediate action by providing a clarification on the terms of reference to ensure that evidence of corruption including the fixing of decisions beginning from the time of the sacking of the former Lord President, Tun Salleh Abbas be admitted in the ongoing Enquiry.
If the government is serious about combating corruption as well as restoring confidence in the judiciary, this is the opportunity for it to prove itself. Rather than just paying lip service to the principles of accountability and transparency, the Prime Minister should take decisive and firm action to bring to justice all those responsible, how high they may be, for corrupting the administration of justice in this country.
I urge Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to act immediately in order that Malaysians and the international community can be assured that his administration is serious in combating corruption and is genuine in wanting to uphold the rule of law.