De facto law minister Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz owes the nation an apology . He had misled the nation by claiming the existence of a 'Witness Protection Bill', when no such bill exists. It is really shocking that the minister in charge of law should be so ignorant in matters of the law but is so loud in his views in making reference to a non-existing bill.
The decent thing for him to do when his ignorance was exposed is to apologise unreservedly. Instead he blames his secretary for failing to issue a clarification to the media. We are not interested in his wishy-washy excuse couched as 'clarification'.
Clarification is only needed or provided when one is misunderstood. In this case, there was no misunderstanding. He was understood perfectly when he stated that "cover for informants was provided for under the Witness Protection Bill tabled recently in Parliament."
But the truth of the matter is that no such bill has been tabled in Parliament for first reading. In other words, according to the facts he has not been truthful in making such claims. Some people would even argue that he had lied.
That being the case what is there to clarify? And why should his secretary clarify on his behalf? Is it beneath him to personally say, "I am sorry?"
Malaysians would want to know why there is so much emphasis placed in wanting to know the identity of the person who recorded the 'Lingam tape'. Shouldn't we be focused on the contents of the tape, which has disparaged the entire system of justice and the judiciary? Are we after the truth or after the person who blew the whistle?
There is no need for Nazri to look into the possibilities of arranging for plastic surgery to give a new identity to protect the witness or to relocate him or her elsewhere. All these are unnecessary and even would constitute a waste of effort. All that is required to know the person responsible for the 'Lingam tape' - if that is the priority for Nazri is to appoint a royal commission of inquiry.
We have been told that the person who taped the conversation is prepared to come forward openly, boldly and without a new identity to reveal himself and tell his side of the story. We don't need a new bill and we need not enact a new law to find out the identity of this person.
Nazri has stated that the three-man panel will be rendered useless unless witnesses come forward. But they are not going to come forward. The panel is not going to summon them; neither are they going to compel anyone to step forward with their evidence. After 30 days, we will discover that the three-man panel was appointed to undertake a task in futility.
This is why Aliran has from the onset rejected the panel and consistently insisted on the setting up of a royal commission of inquiry.
The BN government must decide whether it truly wants to clean up the judiciary and restore the people's confidence in an institution so vital in upholding the Federal Constitution.
The writer is president of Aliran.