Wednesday, November 21, 2007

HAKAM Press Statement: Royal Commission Of Enquiry

The Royal Commission of Enquiry being established to enquire into the Lingam Video is one of crucial significance to the nation and the public interest. It should not looked upon as being merely a means of investigating the narrow issue of the Video and the involvement of V K Lingam in the promotions and appointments of judges.

When one considers the tenor of the conversation the person alleged to be V K Lingam is having, it is apparent that, if authentic, the Video has serious implications and ramifications as to the integrity of the administration of justice. The names of Tan Sri Vincent Tan, Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor (who, if the Video is authentic, was a Deputy Minister at the time the Video was apparently taken, and is currently a Minister), Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the Prime Minister at the time) and Tun Eusoff Chin (a former Chief Justice) were mentioned in a manner suggestive of a collaboration amongst these individuals on the question of promotions and appointments. Additionally, reference was made to the manner that the then Chief Justice, Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin, was approaching the question of promotions and appointments.

From the involvement of the then PM and the then Deputy Minister, and in view of the Government’s direct involvement in the promotion and appointment of judges, it is clear that the Government itself is embroiled. This is significant in light of numerous allegations against the Government for having attacked the Judiciary in 1988 and thereafter having interfered with the Judiciary.

These implications and ramifications as such pertain to, amongst others:
  • the manner in which judges were, and are, appointed and promoted;
  • interference by the Government in the process of appointments and prmotions beyond the limited involvement permitted under the Federal Constitution;
  • the involvement of external influences and factors, including those of a corporate or commercial nature, that had, and have, no bearing on the capability and integrity of candidates for appointments and promotions;
  • interference by the Government with the Judiciary directed at the outcome of the proceedings before the superior courts;
  • the possibility of partisanship and allegiance amongst some members of the Judiciary, such partisanship and allegiance having a bearing on the outcome of proceedings before the superior courts; and/or
  • the possibility that the practices revealed in the Video had continued in the period after the recording of the Video.
The terms of reference must as such be wide enough to allow for a consideration of the issues arising from these ramifications and implications. The need for a sufficiently comprehensive mandate has been made more pressing by the fact of the police reports lodged by V K Lingam’s brother, K.V. Thirunanama Karasu, that go to underscore the apparently inappropriately close relationship between V K Lingam and the Judiciary, The naming of other Judges in the said police reports and the nature of the allegations made strongly suggest corruption.

In view of the need for such a comprehensive mandate, it is evident that the persons appointed as Commissioners must be persons who are not only capable of fulfilling and discharging the very serious responsibility of such an effort. They must also be persons who, and who are seen to, have the necessary objectivity so as to ensure public confidence in the enquiry.

For this reason, it is self evident that that the following persons should not be asked to be members the Commission:
  • Any Chief Justice since Tun Abdul Hamid, including Tun Hamid himself;
  • Retired judges who served Tun Eusoff Chin, Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin and Tun Ahmad Fairuz;
  • Any judge currently serving as such;
  • Any person closely connected with the Government and/or who served the Mahathir Administration and/or the Badawi Administration or still serves. This would include former Attorney Generals; and/or
  • Any person who might be perceived to have grievances against the Government and/or the Judicial Administration in the period from 1988. This would include Tun Salleh Abbas and any of the members of the Judiciary penalized in the 1988 attack on the Judiciary.

Malik Imtiaz Sarwar
President, National Human Rights Society
21st November 2007

12 comments:

BobSam said...

Hi Imtiaz
Great article, but the issue is that the Government has to have the flexibility in naming persons who will be neutral.

Forgive me for being negative, but I seriously doubt that the Govt. will proceed with a "free" Royal Commission. It will be a highly restricted, sanitized committee. Wanna wager (a meal at the Canteena) that Lee Lam Thye will be one of the members?

I saw u in Bangsar. I was seated diagonally opposite u during lunch.

I am also very concerned about the HINDRAF rally this Sunday morning.

Anonymous said...

Not forgetting those judges that failed to deliver written judgments in umpteen years!

Rayfire said...

Hopefully they will consider having Sultan Azlan Shah in the commission as from what I see most executive and judicial body members will not qualify based on the criteria given by Malik, so only royalties qualify

Malik Imtiaz Sarwar said...

Bobsam,

agreed. You should have said hello. Had just finished in court.

MIS

Anonymous said...

And who has left to be on the list of the Royal Commission?
Mydin, hawker in Jln TAR, Ah Chong, clerk in family business and Muthu, unemployed being retrenched after his estate being taken over for development?

dan-yel said...

This statement;"Any person who might be perceived to have grievances against the Government and/or the Judicial Administration in the period from 1988. This would include Tun Salleh Abbas and any of the members of the Judiciary penalized in the 1988 attack on the Judiciary"

It shows how impartial you are, no matter how much, I believe, you would believe that Tun Salleh Abas deserve justice. Good call, nobody can claim that this is an "opposition"'s claim

Anonymous said...

1. Should all those "suspects" be at least under the "strict" investigation of ACA, the Police, AG and the Bar Council?
Therefore, the Royal Commission should be the one at least seeing that the four in their "Strict" performance.

2. Then, basically, there are rules and regulations and procedures of these four to be followed but to be fine tuned or consolidated by the Royal Commission when necessary.

Otherwise, existing rules and regulations will suddenly be renewed or even replaced. This will surely put existing rules and regulations in puzzle when something similar came out. Or, the four will wait to pass the buckets to the RC!

3. While doing such investigating, an important task of RC was to lay out and publicized the Code of Practice with penalty for the judiciary system to tackle the following well-known "culture" of
- intention ...delays by courts and lawyers, with a time frame.
e.g. A piece of Suggested Statement of Facts & Issues can take years to deliver!!
- time frame for all the filings to the courts.
e.g. a piece of notify to act cannot be found after months or close to a year after filing.
- more electronic time booking and filing system.
Shouldn't the court system or "Superior" Judge be worse than a clinic, or, the "professional" lawyers are worse than a patients to be qualified with an appointment?

The RC should investigate what were wrong but also to suggest the prevention for the future.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Mr. Malik,
I am not a lawyer so please excuse my ignorance regarding matters of this nature. I still remember the Commission set up to try Tun Salleh Abbas. If I am not mistaken a sizeable number of the commission are Judges or retired Judges from the Commonwealth. Couldn't this be repeated here?

PM said...

The Royal Commission is a double edged weapon. On one side it will make the Bar council happy, their task has been fruitful. However it will also reinforce AAB image amongst the Bar council and the concerned public. On the other edge it gives the PM a stronger means to further dismantle Mahatir's legacy.

It was pleasant watching you on TV with your intellectual input. You have my respect.

Anonymous said...

PM,

RCI & the BAR
============
RCI was proposed NOT only by the BAR
Elaboration was done MORE outside the BAR
Police, ACA and the Panel were challenged for their incompetent
Why DB within the BAR is silent?

If 40,000 from all walks on a rally
had asked fairness for EVERYONE
why 13,000 or 2000 within one walk
does not OR cannot put THEIR DB to run?

40,000 were on a rally to ask for everone's rights
do 13,000 or 2000 realize their Rights
or obligations on the One they offered the Rights?

People & Parliament
BAR & DB
are alike
Two components relating obligations & Rights!

The 40,000 had done their task
BAR, is Walk your task
or pushing DB is your task?

40,000 is asking a fair system on the EC
BAR, do you have a fair system in DB?

Or, civilians can only talk Human Rights
and not all Laws to be Right!!

BAR YOU ARE AN IMPORTANT MIRROR
to bring light in Laws
or judiciary system alike
but only if you put your position Right!!

Anonymous said...

RC getting shape?
=========
Royal & Commonwealth taking the Flag!
With ACA, Police, AG and BAR waiting to be directed?
But, where is the Protection Act?
to let Whistle Blowers no scare!

Eventually a competent court
still be in place to act!

Are they moving
or only just laying the Steps?
So noises of the stair
without the images coming to repair!

Anonymous said...

We will never know what a country we would have if only a few men such as this one are responsible for dispensing justice in the country.

The fact that such men exist but are not called upon to contribute in more positive ways esp. when compared to people in government like the defacto law minister who does not even know the laws of his country shows both the ineptness and intent of the current government.

xxx