09 November, 2009

"correct, correct, correct" - morally wrong, legally clean !

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz struck again today. This time over the VK Lingam issue.

According to the de facto law minister, the prominent lawyer, famed for his "correct, correct, correct" phrase, had not broken the law.

The statement is the latest in a series of conflicting views over the matter, with the last coming from Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein who told Parliament on Oct 29 that the infamous video clip was still being probed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Nazri, who had opposition MPs up in arms with his remark, told the Dewan Rakyat that Lingam's alleged brokering of judges may be morally wrong, but there are no specific laws against it.

"His actions can undermine and erode the integrity of the judiciary, but things must be viewed from a legal perspective…moral and legal must be separated," he said.

The minister said that the recording of the telephone conversation involving Lingam may have just been an act or an attempt to show off on the lawyer's part.

"Lingam can say that he wants to help someone get appointed, but we don't know if he had actually gone to the (then) prime minister and instructed him to appoint a certain judge," he said.

- Malaysiakini

A video footage showing Lingam allegedly brokering the appointment of judges was released by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim in 2007.

Lingam was said to be talking on the phone with former chief justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, but the latter denied this.

The video clip unleashed a furore in Malaysia and subsequently a five-member inquiry commission was set up to probe the matter found it to be authentic and implicated prominent personalities.

The Royal Commission said that the evidence presented and chronology of the judicial appointments being discussed in the video clip proved that:
  • It was prominent lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam on the telephone in the clip,
  • It was former Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim on the other end of the line, and
  • The process of judicial appointments was open to manipulation by the Executive and private citizens.
  • It was a joint operation of Lingam, Tengku Adnan and business tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan as persons responsible for ensuring the late Tan Sri Dr Abdul Malek Ahmad did not become Chief Judge of Malaya.

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