Anwar reveals more footage of Lingam tape

Nukilan Khairul Faizi bin Ahmad Kamil | 11/09/2007 08:45:00 AM | 0 Pandangan »

Anwar reveals more footage of Lingam tape
Fauwaz Abdul AzizNov 8, 07 12:33pm

De facto PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim today released an additional 10 seconds of the controversial VK Lingam tape which allegedly confirmed that the senior lawyer was talking to former chief justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim. The
first eight minutes of the 14-minute Lingam tape - believed to be recorded in 2002 - was made public by the former deputy premier at a packed press conference two months ago.

However, the other part - about six minutes long - was held back to protect the whistleblower.

Anwar said he decided to make public 10 seconds of this second half of the clip in response to those who cast doubts on the video as Ahmad Fairuz’ name was not mentioned in the first segment.

The original eight-minute clip shows Lingam talking on the phone, allegedly with Ahmad Fairuz, then chief judge of Malaya.

The duo were having a discussion on the need to secure the appointment of ‘friendly’ judges in the top echelon of the judiciary.

In the 10-second clip, Lingam finishes his telephone conversation and then turns to speak to another person in the room - believed to be in Lingam’s house - who is heard asking who was on the other end of the line.

Unidentified man: Who is that?

Lingam: Chief judge of Malaya.

Unidentified man: Who's that?
Lingam: Dato Ahmad Fairuz

Ahmad Fairuz, who retired as chief justice last week, has denied his involvement in the telephone conversation through a minister, while Lingam has been silent to date despite media attempts to obtain his comments.

Shown to the press

At the press conference held at his office in Petaling Jaya, Anwar said the release of the 10-second footage today - which was shown to the press this morning - was to spur the government into action.

He said Umno - the dominant party in the coalition government - has been trying to deflect from the disturbing issues raised by the video clip, which include abuse of power, corruption, and the ‘fixing’ of judicial appointments. Moreover, the three-member inquiry panel set up to probe the authenticity of the tape also appeared to be dealing merely with “the technicalities of the matter”, added Anwar.

A few government officials have also questioned whether Ahmad Fairuz was indeed implicated as his name was not mentioned in the original clip made public by Anwar on Sept 19.

“This additional expose confirms that the person VK Lingam is seen talking to is Dato Ahmad Fairuz,” he said.

Anwar reiterated that the non-renewal of Ahmad Fairuz’s contract - whose term expired last month - could not be used as an excuse that the issue had been resolved.

"We are grateful to the Malay rulers and the King for not acceding to the wish of the cabinet and the prime minister. But this does not solve the problem. “For a person who has committed a crime, his case cannot be closed just because his service has not been extended. I demand that transparent, meticulous and professional investigations be conducted by the Anti-Corruption Agency,” Anwar said.

Government’s game plan

Explaining his decision to release the video clip in a number of parts, Anwar said this was to counter moves by the government to discredit the whole tape in one go.

“We have to anticipate the game plan by the other side. If we had given (all of) it earlier, they could have just said the whole thing is not true. We’re also giving time for the Malaysian public to absorb it all,” he said.

Asked why he was not surrendering the evidence and identity of the whistleblowers given the prime minister had given his assurance that they would be protected, Anwar said he knows from personal experience that such verbal guarantees are not good enough.

Anwar, who was sacked from his deputy premier post in September 1998 after a fallout with then-premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, reminded journalists that he was assaulted after his arrest and left unattended without medical assistance.

He claimed there was an attempt to cover up the incident and that then inspector-general of police (IGP) Rahim Noor and Mahathir had misled the public into thinking that he was “safe and sound”.
“I was beaten almost to death. What assurance? We heard the IGP and the prime minister and home minister (then) say I was “safe and sound”. Surely you haven’t forgotten that?” he asked.
According to him, the whistleblowers face serious security risks as the nation’s ex-top judge, a well-connected senior lawyer and a gambling tycoon have been implicated by the scandal.

“You don’t expect them (the whistleblowers) to be willing to take the risks, do you? Can you guarantee (their safety)?” he asked.

“These guys (the whistleblowers) are not convinced.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak when met at the Umno assembly this afternoon said that the government will let the three-member panel set up earlier to probe the authenticity of the clip to handle the matter.

"Whatever it is, we leave it to the panel to decide," he said, adding that the panel can report to the government later on any new development.

However the panel, which was appointed on Sept 27 will be dissolved by tomorrow when the 30-working-day deadline given to them expires. Najib refused to make any further comments.

The panel had on Tuesday submitted three individual reports to the government on their findings. [5-min video of Anwar's press conference]

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