(Used by permission)
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 24 (Bernama) –– "I can choose any topic I like. I can pretend to talk to President Bush if I like," lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam said at the inquiry into the controversial "Lingam" video clip today.
He was responding to a question on why he chose the topic on brokering of judicial appointments to brag about it as depicted in the video clip showing a man "who looks and sounds like me" talking over the phone.
Lingam, 57, who continued his testimony today was questioned further by Malaysian Bar representative Ranjit Singh on why he discussed brokering of judges with businessman Loh Mui Fah (as seen in the video clip) even "if you were in a tipsy state".
Lingam answered: "This was in my house, my castle, in the privacy of my room. I am the king in my house. I can talk whatever rubbish if I choose to even if I am drunk as long as I do not misbehave in public."
Ranjit raised the question following Lingam's testimony on Monday, admitting that he might have had one too many "drinks" during the occasion in December 2001 and that his (Lingam's) friend said "he (Lingam) talks rubbish when he drinks wine".
Questioned further on why he discussed former Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim's appointment as the Chief Judge of Malaya in front of Loh, Lingam replied that he did not remember saying that.
Lingam agreed that he relied on the video clip showing wine bottles and other alcoholic drinks to suggest that he might have been slightly intoxicated.
He said he made the assumption that "he" might have been slightly drunk on that occasion as "he" was seen in the clip sipping wine from a wine glass and there were also a few bottles of wine, whisky and brandy on the table in his house.
Commission chairman Tan Sri Haidar Mohamed Noor then questioned Lingam on why Loh and his son Gwo Burne came forward to the inquiry to identify that the man in the video allegedly brokering judicial appointments, was him.
Haidar: Why did they do that because you said Loh is your social friend?
Lingam: I can't think of a reason.
Lingam further explained that if Loh and his son believed the content of the video clip was true, they should have gone to the Anti–Corruption Agency or police and not keep the tape for six years.
The Royal Commission of Inquiry was set up, among others, to ascertain the authenticity of the video clip.
The other terms of reference of the commission are:–
* To enquire and identify the identity of the person in the video clip, to whom he was speaking to and the persons mentioned in the conversation;
* To enquire and ascertain the truth of the content of the conversation in the said video clip;
* To determine whether there is any misconduct by the person or persons identified or mentioned in the said video clip; and
* To recommend any appropriate action to be taken against the person or persons identified or mentioned in the video clip if the person or persons found to have committed any misconduct.
To a question by commission member Datuk Mahadev Shankar on whether he was able to confirm that the man in the video clip was him, Lingam said: "No, I said it looked like me and did not say it was not me."
He said he was unable to say 100 percent that the man in the video clip was him until the authenticity of its content was established by an expert witness.
Mahadev: You do not need to give me 100 percent.
However, in jest, Mahadev asked Lingam how many percent of him was in the video clip?
Lingam: I don't want to get into mathematical ... with you.
Lingam said he would be glad to confirm whether the man in the video clip was him if an expert witness confirmed the authenticity of its content.
"If the expert witness said 100 percent it was me, I would be the first to say the man is me.
"I am not saying it is not me. I say it looks like me, sounds like me. I've made myself very clear," he reiterated.
The issue was raised following a question by Loh's counsel Americk Singh Sidhu on whether he disputed that the person in the photograph taken during his New Zealand holiday trip with former Chief Justice Tun Eusoff Chin was him.
Lingam answered: "No, I don't."
(Used by permission)