Archive for October 11th, 2007

Lingam Tape – end the rigmarole of Nazri flip-flops, lameduck Haidar Panel and Cabinet micro-managing of inquiry

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has done a triple flip-flop in four days.

On Sunday, he said that the probe into the Lingam Tape will come to a dead end if the witnesses who can verify it do not come forward to establish its authenticity.

He also assured witnesses and whistleblowers of “full government protection, including a change of identities if necessary”, declaring: “I guarantee that we will protect the sources. Trust the government to do so.”

However when he found that the Witness Protection Act or Bill which he had quoted as authority for such protection does not exist, Nazi said on Tuesday that he would present a strong case to the Cabinet to provide protection for the people behind the recording of the Lingam Tape.

He said: “The panel’s investigation will not be able to progress if the protection is not provided. We will not then be able to get to the bottom of this. The panel will be rendered useless.”

However, Nazri sang a different tune after the Cabinet meeting yesterday.

He said: “We will assist but first we have to establish what type of protection these people want.

“If it is anonymity, it can be arranged. If it is security, it can be arranged, but we have to know.”

It is most shocking that Nazri could be so ignorant that what the informants want is full immunity from any prosecution, protection from persecution and victimization from the powers-that-be and that there should be no cover-up of the Lingam Tape scandal of perversion of the course of justice with judicial appointments and judge-fixing.

Nazri said the Cabinet had decided to assist the Haidar inquiry panel investigate the Lingam Tape in whatever way it could. If the panel had difficulty getting those behind the video clip to come forward to be interviewed, it could ask for the government’s help.

“If the panel faces difficulties in concluding investigations, it could submit a report to us and we will assist in whatever way possible.”

It is outrageous that three weeks after the disclosure of the Lingam Tape, the Cabinet is still studiously avoiding the core issues of the Lingam Tape scandal on judicial misconduct and perversion with the course of justice — focusing all the attention on the authenticity of the Lingam Tape which could be established through forensic voice and tape analysis. Read the rest of this entry »


Congrats to Sheikh Muszaphar as Malaysia’s first angkasawan

Congratulations to Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor as Malaysia’s first angkasawan, orbiting in space to the International Space station — 360 km above the earth.

It is a feat Malaysians can feel proud.

We must however ensure that Malaysia can follow up and take a quantum leap in advances in science and technology and not be like Saudi Arabia, which sent the first Muslim into space more than two decades ago in 1985 in the United States space shuttle Discovery but the desert state has little to show in terms of building a science and technology research and development sector beyond oil and petrochemicals.

The government must also learn from the mistakes of the programme to send the first Malaysian to space, as it had been mired in controversy at almost every stage, from its genesis, conception and selection as well as its transparency and accountability.

The lift-off programme last night would have been more fitting the nation’s 50th Merdeka anniversary if an inter-faith prayer session had been held to give blessings for a successful launch as Malaysia is sending a Malaysian who is a Muslim into space and not a Muslim who happen to be a Malaysian.


Burma’s Monks: Ethics is not confined to Books and Temples

By Farish A Noor
The Other Malaysia

By now the international community is fully aware of the recent developments in Burma, a country that has been under military rule and isolated from the rest of the globe since 1963. The images of Burmese Buddhist monks taking to the streets and defying the armed might of the Burmese junta and its security apparatus reminds us of familiar scenes dating back to the 1980s, and echo the democratic revolutions we have seen elsewhere in Asia, including China, since then.

While the fate of Burma and her people hang in the balance, the protest of the monks — many of whom happen to come from ordinary Burmese families with scant political protection themselves — teaches us a vital lesson and is a model for many progressive theologians and religious activists to follow. It is sometimes said that in the post-Enlightenment age we live in there is little concern for religion and that religion has no place in society. Worst still, the political instrumentalisation of religion for clearly divisive and sectarian ends has further added scepticism for many who believe that religion is best kept out of politics and the public domain, where it has often been abused. (A view that many would concur with). Unfortunately today any talk of religious ethics is often met with images of Bible-thumping evangelists talking of holy wars and moral crusades, angry bearded fanatics burning books and nosey neighbours spying on what the people next door are doing. Are religion and ethics destined to remain forever trapped in the nonsensical and pointless debate over who is holier and who wears his or her religion on the sleeves? Has religion nothing to say on pressing issues of the day such as fundamental political rights and liberties, democracy and rule of law? Read the rest of this entry »