Zaid: Be serious, form royal commission
Oct 25, 07 6:53pm
A Barisan Nasional MP told Parliament today that the government should have formed a royal commission of inquiry into the scandalous Lingam tape.
Zaid Ibrahim (BN-Kota Baru) said setting up the three-man independent panel has proven to be a fruitless effort as with one week more to complete its report, no one has come forward to give useful information to the panel.
"This goes to show that the panel is powerless to do anything. I don't understand. Why didn't they just form a royal commission of inquiry into the tape?" asked Zaid, adding that the government should have formed the commission if it was serious in a quick resolution to the matter.
"This is not just any allegation, it is a serious allegation. In the 90s, we had a scandal involving the then chief justice, and now we have this."
"I was made to understand that the prime minister (Abdullah Ahmad Badawai) wanted a royal commission of inquiry set up to investigate the tape but some people in the government do not want the commission," he said in his debate on the Supply Bill 2008, The panel, headed by former chief justice of Malaya Haidar Mohd Noor, was set up by the government instead of a royal commission of inquiry as demanded by the opposition and Bar Council.
Zaid, a lawyer, also questioned the rationale of setting up an independent panel to only verify the authenticity of the tape.
"This three-man panel depends solely on the public's goodwill. It does not have power to force anybody to say anything. It cannot even charge anyone who comes with false information."
This prompted Ismail Yacob (BN-Bera), also a lawyer, to ask Zaid as to why he feels that the panel is powerless.
"Maybe you feel that the panel is powerless, and on the other hand, we have ACA which is also conducting investigations. Are you saying that ACA cannot be trusted?" asked Ismail.
'Neither here nor there' Responding, Zaid said that the government should not have given the same task to two different parties and he urged the government not to do something that is "neither here nor there".
"If the government wanted a panel to investigate the matter, leave it to the panel alone. Or if it wanted an investigation by the ACA, it should have just leave it to the ACA," said Zaid.
He also urged the ACA not to go after the messenger but to look into the message itself.
"Last week, I was shocked to see a Utusan Malaysia front-page report on ACA completing its investigation against (PKR de facto leader) Anwar (Ibrahim)," he said, adding that the ACA should leave the messenger alone and look into the message instead.
"I'm puzzled as to why this issue has taken such a twist. He's (Anwar) is not even a factor, they (ACA) should not harass him," he said. "We need to look into this issue seriously because the state of our judiciary warrants a thorough investigation."