Star (Used by permission)
by Devid Rajah and V. P. Sujata
• Panel to meet soon on its role
• Differing views by Opposition
PUTRAJAYA: A three-man special independent panel
headed by a retired top judge has been formed to investigate and determine the
authenticity of a video clip showing a senior lawyer purportedly brokering the
appointment of judges.
The panel’s terms of reference include holding a full inquiry, analysing the
evidence and making the necessary conclusion.
The panel comprises former Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Haidar Mohd Noor as
chairman, National Service Council chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye and former
Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mahadev Shankar.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who announced the formation of
the panel yesterday, said the findings would be submitted to the Government and
“The Government decided to set up the panel in view of speculation and
allegations related to the video clip that could affect the credibility and
integrity of the judiciary,” he said at a press conference.
“The panel will also work closely with the Anti-Corruption Agency and police
(the two law enforcement agencies also investigating the case) to determine the
authenticity of the video clip,” he added.
Najib said the panel members were of impeccable character and there was no
reason for the public to protest over their appointment.
“I personally called the members and they agreed to be in the panel,” he said,
adding that Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hasan would
assist the panel in carrying out its duties.
“They will do whatever is necessary and get the full support of the various
government agencies,” he said when asked if those implicated in the video would
be interviewed by the panel.
“The key thing is their findings and we (the Government) will take it from
“I don’t have to go into too much detail, let the panel decide on how it wants
to proceed,” he said.
On the Bar Council’s planned march at Putrajaya today, Najib said “that’s up to
the Bar Council and the authorities to decide.”
“I am confident that the police are up to the task. I am sure the police would
be able to handle the situation,” he said.
He said the setting up of the panel was not due to the Bar Council’s request for
an inquiry, but out of the concerns of the public about the integrity of the
country’s judiciary system.
“At this moment, there is no intention of setting up a Royal Commission of
Inquiry but the independent panel will suffice,” he added.
Panel to meet soon on its role
by Shaila Koshy
KUALA LUMPUR: The independent panel to investigate the video clip of a
lawyer apparently “fixing” the appointments of judges with a senior judge will
determine how to proceed as soon as its members have met.
“I will try to meet the other two members either tomorrow (Wednesday) or over
the next few days,” said panel chairman Tan Sri Haidar Mohd Noor.
“I was just informed today (Tuesday) of our appointment. We need to know exactly
what our role is. I understand that we are not a Royal Commission under an Act
of Parliament but an administrative panel to investigate the authenticity of the
Asked how the panel would proceed with its investigations and how long it would
take, he said: “To be honest, I’m not clear on that right now from what I was
told. I would like to meet with my members to discuss all that.”
Asked whether he has received his letter of appointment and terms of reference,
Haidar, who retired as Chief Judge of Malaya in 2004, said: “I have not received
anything as yet. I guess, because of the urgency, they called us up first.”
Also on the panel with the chairman of CIMB Bank are retired Court of Appeal
judge Datuk Mahadev Shankar and National Service Council chairman Tan Sri Lee
Former fellow commissioners in Suhakam, Mahadev and Lee have also served on
other high-profile inquiry panels.
Mahadev was on the Royal Commission of Inquiry that investigated Datuk Seri
Anwar Ibrahim’s black eye while he was in police custody, while Lee was on the
Royal Commission that looked into improving the police force.
On his expectations, Mahadev said: “At this early stage all I can say is that
having worked with Tan Sri Lee in Suhakam and Tan Sri Haidar for many years in
the judiciary, I feel we will make a good team.
“The Government undoubtedly acted wisely in reacting so swiftly to allay the
public outcry for positive action.
“It only remains for all concerned to let the panel get on with the terms of
reference entrusted to it.”
All Lee wished to say at this point was that he had accepted his appointment and
would discharge his duties to the best of his abilities.
The Malaysian Bar welcomed the Government’s “initial step” in setting up the
independent panel to investigate the clip as a positive move in response to
“The Bar will cooperate in this move to uncover the truth,” said its president
Saying the investigation should extend beyond the remit of authenticating the
clip, she added that it was “essential there is no issue of conflict of interest
with regard to any member of the panel.”
She said the Bar would continue to call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry with
wider terms of reference looking into the affairs of the judiciary.
“A Royal Commission of Inquiry appointed under the (Commission of Enquiry) Act
will of course have wide powers particularly in relation to compelling the
production of evidence which the independent panel will not have.”
Ambiga added that the plan to hand over the Bar’s memorandum to the Prime
Minister in Putrajaya calling for a Royal Commission would proceed as planned
Differing views by Opposition
KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition parties are split in their views over the formation
of a special independent panel to probe the authenticity of the video clip
showing a senior lawyer allegedly brokering judges’ appointment.
PAS secretary-general Datuk Kamaruddin Jaafar said PAS welcomed the panel
formation but wanted it to be given full powers to summon anyone including those
alleged with the misconduct, witnesses and suppliers of the video tape.
“It shouldn’t be a difficult task establishing the authenticity of the video
tape with the availability of information technology and checks can be made with
the telecommunication companies,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced the formation of the
Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang said the formation of the panel was an
unacceptable move as it fell short of what should be done.
He said a Royal Commission of Inquiry should instead be formed to conduct a full
and comprehensive investigation to restore public confidence in the judiciary.
Parti Keadilan Rakyat agrees with DAP, saying that a Cabinet-appointed panel was
“A Cabinet-appointed panel with no actual legal power to do investigation lacks
the ability to properly investigate the scandals exposed by the video or the
video itself,” said its president Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in a