LETTER

Again heat is on the whistleblowers, not culprits

Hamdan Ibrahim

Published
Modified 29 Jan 2008, 10:21 am

I refer to the Malaysiakini report, Lingam tape: Protest at panel's first meeting . Tension seems to running high on the first meeting of the panel to investigate the Lingam tape fiasco. There is fear among the public that there will be a whitewash when the panel finish their investigations (like before) and that's why people protest during their maiden meeting.

The government knows that if they succumb to public pressure for the setting up of a royal commission to investigate this shameful incident which has besmirches the judiciary image, more skeletons in the closet might be exposed as the commission has more powers.

The laymen cannot understand why the panel should bother to investigate the authenticity of the tape rather than the content of the telephone conversation between the senior lawyer and the top judge. The Anti-Corruption Agency, instead of hauling the parties involved in the tape controversy, seems to be training their guns on the whistleblowers that expose the tape as a form of intimidation

The panel should look at the subsequent event after the tape controversy and see whether what was promise by the well-connected lawyer to the judge really hold true. The wall of silence on the part of the chief justice after the tape was exposed makes one wonder if he is really not the other party at the other end of the telephone conversation as he claimed through a minister.

We should applaud the opposition leader's intention of asking Parliament to set up a royal commission to go to the bottom of this case, failing which a vote of no-confidence against the sitting chief justice is the best recourse as the incident has tarnish the image of the high office that he holds in the judiciary.

Mind you, this is the worse crisis that our judiciary is facing since 1988 incident where three eminent judges were removed from office because of their independent judgments.

If the public don't have any confidence that they can get fair justice in court, mob rule might occur in the streets. Foreign investors will skip our shore if they feel they will lose in court cases against powerful litigants with the right connections. Lawyer too will feel uncomfortable to appear in court where judges are partial in their judgments and only favour certain parties who are friendly to them.

The Bar Council should be fearless in exposing this shameful incident involving one of their member and the senior judge and the Walk for Justice should be one of the few steps taken to restore the image of the judiciary.

As Lord Denning, a prominent judge in United Kingdom once said, silence is not an option when ills are done. Let us bring back the shine in our judiciary by appointing and elevating courageous and independent judges.

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