With the one-week ultimatum given by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice president Sivarasa Rasiah and party adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s political co-ordinator Sim Tse Tzin to reveal the source of the eight-minute Lingam videoclip or face action under the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 entailing two years’ jail, RM10,000 fine or both, every concerned Malaysian is asking:
Is there a grand conspiracy to “kill” the Lingam Tape scandal at the technical level casting doubts on its authenticity to avert any inquiry into the rot of the judiciary in the past 19 years and who are the people and parties privy to this grand conspiracy?
With the ACA ultimatum, the game-plan for the damage control of the explosive revelation of the Lingam Tape on the perversion of the course of justice with grave allegations of the fixing of judicial appointments and court decisions has become clearer — as the ACA is only interested in zeroing on the “whistleblowers” rather than the truth or otherwise of the serious allegations of the perversion of the course of justice highlighted by the Lingam Tape.
An administration fully committed to restore national and international confidence in the independence, integrity and meritocracy of the judiciary would leave no stone unturned to investigate into the allegations of fixing of judicial appointments and court decisions regardless of whether the identity of the “whistleblowers” could be identified.
But here, we have all the resources of the state being expended to try to cast doubts on the authenticity of Lingam Tape while ignoring the rot in the judiciary in the past 19 years since the 1988 Judicial Crisis.
In the case in point, the first thing the three members of the Haidar Inquiry panel should have asked the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak before accepting their appointments was the assurance that they would have powers to grant protection and immunity of prosecution to anyone who come forward to give information to the panel, particularly the person or persons who had taken the Lingam Tape.
Why didn’t the three-man Haidar panel ask for such powers so that it could be seen as an independent inquiry in search of truth and justice instead of being regarded as a creature of the government just to serve the interests of the Executive?
In this connection, it is appropriate to ask the Haidar Inquiry Panel whether it is aware of any grand conspiracy to kill the Lingam Tape scandal at the technical level by casting doubts on its authenticity to avert any inquiry into the rot of the judiciary in the past 19 years.
This question is pertinent in view of the juxtaposition of two events:
- The first meeting of the Haidar inquiry panel on Wednesday, together with the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan and Anti-Corruption Agency director-general I Datuk Abu Kassim Mohamed; and
- The issue the very next day of the one-week ultimatum to Sivarasa and Sim to reveal the source of the Lingam Tape or face prosecution.
Sivarasah and Sim had been questioned by the ACA separately before the Haidar inquiry meeting on Wednesday. Was the game-plan to issue the one-week ultimatum to the two to reveal source or face prosecution discussed with the Haidar panel?
Is the Haidar panel prepared to take a public stand opposing the one-week ultimatum of ACA to Sivarasa and Sim to reveal source or face prosecution, by asking the Attorney-General to grant immunity to the whistleblowers by declaring that no prosecution or whatever action would be taken against them?
In the transcript of the press conference given by the panel chairman, Tan Sri Haidar Mohd Noor on Wednesday, there was the following Q & A after Haidar intimated that the panel had no intention to call Lingam:
Q: Does that mean you recognize the person in the tape as Lingam?
Haidar: We don’t know, people say its’ VK Lingam-lah. (laughs).
This is the second time within a week that Haidar had given such an ambivalent answer, which points to the possibility of the Haidar Inquiry coming out with the finding that it did not have sufficient ground to reach the conclusion that the Lingam Tape is authentic or otherwise; whether the person in the tape was Lingam or just an impersonator; and that the person at the other end of the phone conversation was the Chief Justice, Tan Sri Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim — giving the government the full justification not to proceed any further with any inquiry.