Archive for September 25th, 2007

Lingam Tape – 3-man panel into authenticity unsatisfactory, unacceptable and falls far short of what should be done

Disbelief, shock and outrage — these three feelings sum up the general reaction to news of the announcement by Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak of the three-man independent panel set up by the government to investigate the authenticity of the Lingam Tape of a telephone conversation between a senior lawyer V.K. Lingam and Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim in 2002 on fixing of judicial appointments and perversion of the course of justice.

Najib said the panel would be headed by former Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Haidar Mohd Noor, with former Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Mahadev Shankar and social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye as members.

The three-man independent panel into the authenticity of the Lingam Tape is unsatisfactory and unacceptable as it falls far short of what should be done — a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape and the alleged perversion of the course of justice and the compromising of judicial independence, integrity, impartiality and integrity.

The establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to conduct a full and comprehensive investigation is particularly urgent and imperative to restore public confidence in the system of justice as up to now, Ahmad Fairuz has been conspicuously silent in failing to personally issue a statement on the Lingam Tape — five days after its expose by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The denial which the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had made on Ahmad Fairuz’ behalf is just not good enough, with zero credibility.

In restricting the panel to the question of the authenticity of the Lingam Tape instead of allowing full investigations into all aspects of the allegations of perversion of the course of justice and the compromising of judicial independence, impartiality and integrity raised by the video clip, the government is avoiding the imperative issue of the long-standing rot in the judiciary and the urgent need to restore national and international confidence in the system of justice with a truly independent judiciary and a just rule of law. Read the rest of this entry »


Lingam Tape: Cry for judiciary – from Minister for “tables and chairs” to Minister for Chief Justice

Cry for the judiciary — for the first time in 50 years, there is a Minister for the Chief Justice when seven years ago, the then Chief Justice declared that there was no Minister looking after the judiciary and ridiculed the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of the law and justice portfolio as Minister for “tables and chairs” for the courts!

Yesterday, when trying to explain why he had issued a denial on behalf of the Chief Justice, Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim in connection with the Lingam Tape, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Nazri Aziz said that this was because “I am his minister”.

He said: “I am his minister. I am the minister in charge of legal affairs. He is clever enough to know that the reporters will ask me for a response.”

In one fell swoop, Nazri had not only reduced the Chief Justice to that of a subordinate junior but also repudiated the cardinal principle of the independence of the Judiciary and destroyed the fundamental doctrine of the separation of powers among the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary.

In the five decades of nationhood, the Minister delegated the law and justice portfolio by the Prime Minister was never regarded as a Minister for the judges because of the doctrine of separation of powers of the three branches of government and the principle of the independence of the judiciary.

In June 2000, Malaysians were offered a glimpse of judicial goings-on when the contretemps between the then Chief Justice of the Federal Court, Tun Eusoffe Chin and the then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim erupted after the latter chastised the former for his improper judicial behaviour in “socialising” with lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam during a New Zealand holiday in 1994.

Eusoffe said he coincidentally “bumped” into Lingam when holidaying in New Zealand, and relegated Rais to a Minister for “tables and chairs” for the Chief Registrar’s Office and not law.

Eusuff said: “I suppose when we need tables and chairs or a new courtroom, we go to him.” He stressed that the minister “doesn’t look after the judiciary”. (Star 7.6.00). Read the rest of this entry »


ASEAN govts must warn Myanmar military – another bloodbath ala-1988 completely unacceptable

With the Myanmar military junta threatening a crackdown as some 100,000 demonstrators led by barefoot Buddhist monks staged in Yangon yesterday the country’s largest anti-government protest since a failed democratic uprising nearly 20 years ago, ASEAN governments and leaders cannot continue to be on the sidelines and must move quick and fast.

All the nine ASEAN governments must urgently send a clear and unequivocal message to the Myanmar military junta that a crackdown and bloodbath revisiting the 1988 massacre in Burma is totally unacceptable and incompatible with responsible membership of ASEAN and the United Nations.

A repeat of the 1988 bloodbath with some 3,000 people killed by the military would be an unmitigated disaster for Myanmar and ASEAN, casting a pall on the 13th ASEAN Summit in Singapore on Nov. 20-21 and plunging the regional organization into its worst crisis in 40 years.

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary ASEAN, 2007 should be a year to celebrate another major stride in the development of ASEAN with the adoption of an ASEAN Charter incorporating human rights protection for the people of ASEAN.

A bloodbath in Myanmar will not only smash these high and noble ASEAN hopes into smithereens, but also highlight the fatal mistake ten years ago in admitting Myanmar into ASEAN when the military junta had no intention whatsoever to honour its undertaking to work towards national reconciliation and democratization in the country.

China – and in particular the Beijing Olympic Games 2008 — and India will not be able to escape adverse international repercussions of a bloodbath in Myanmar as they will be blamed for giving support to the Myanmar military junta and turning a blind eye to the bloody crackdown in the country. Read the rest of this entry »


Can there be a discussion of Islam thats not STUPID???

By Farish A Noor

It is interesting to reflect on the asinine times we live in, particularly if like me, you are involved in that nebulous thing called ‘Inter-cultural dialogue’. Over the past four weeks I have been engaged in numerous rounds of dialogues between Western Europeans and Muslim migrant communities in Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin, and in every single one of these encounters I came across stereotypes of Muslims and Islam that were so shallow and puerile that I am almost embarrassed to recount them here. Worst still these pedestrian musings on Islam and Muslims were not the offerings of everyday punters, but those who claimed to be well-known and admired scholars and historians.

In one of these exchanges I was told the following: that ‘Islam is a fascist, woman-hating, Christian-killing, gay-bashing macho male ideology of hatred that was built on fourteen centuries of conquest and bloodshed, murder and rape. That is why there cannot be integration of Muslims into Europe, because the Muslims that we have here are the savages of the Arab world who are barbaric, violent and brutal. They do not believe in reason and the Enlightenment and Islamic civilisation has not produced anything scientific, rational or humane.’ Try substituting the word ‘Muslim’ for ‘blacks’ and one would see how far-fetched and racist such claims really are.

Now why is it that whenever we speak of Islam and Muslims today some of us think they have the licence to drop their IQ level by a hundred points or so? Is talk on Islam a licence to say anything dumb, offensive, provocative, just for the sake of riling up the masses and grabbing a few headlines? A politician in Holland has even stated that there should be a ban on any reading of the Qur’an, on the grounds that it can be compared to Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Others claim that all Muslims are determined primarily by their religion which happens to be irrational, unscientific and anti-Enlightenment. Read the rest of this entry »