Ak57\’s Weblog

Thoughts and opinions on Malaysian news, its people and its culture

Archive for September 2007

Proving the video

As I explained before, the video recording that is causing all the scandal is a weak proof of corruption. The panel formed to examine the authenticity of the video may be looking to prove one of two things (or both) :

1. Whether the video is real, the person depicted in the video is VK Lingam and the person he is speaking to is Tun Ahmad Fairuz

2. Whether the allegations implied by what the person on the video are true

Let me suggest some possible ways to prove these items.

Is the video real? Is the person VK Lingam?

Well yes it is real (as in, not computer generated) and I’m certain there are third parties that can identify the person in the video as VK Lingam based on body language, voice and appearance. If it wasn’t him then this scandal would have died down sooner – it might be a very, very good impersonator of him but for the moment I’m inclined to believe it is him.

Is the person he is speaking to Tun Ahmad Fairuz?

Only way to verify this is to check VK Lingam’s outgoing call records for his mobile phone in 2002 and see if it corresponds to any mobile number or land line linked to Tun Ahmad Fairuz (that is a LOT of numbers by the way, I’m talking office, family, extended family, friends, clubs, associations). This video was taken in 2002. If telco operators of the time had a legal obligation to keep such detailed records and not simply purge them after lets say, 4-5 years then it is possible to verify at the very least, an indirect linking to Tun Ahmad Fairuz. Of course there are also itemised bills to refer to, if all the parties involved kept them.

However if VK Lingam did have some legal dealings with Tun Ahmad Fairuz then this phone record search is pointless, as you will see in the next paragraph.

Are the allegations implied true?

The lawyer mentioned the ‘fixing’ of judicial appointments. Now we only have the word of the person releasing the video that this conversation took place in 2002 and even then there is no date or timestamp on the video itself. The video could have been taken in 2002, 2003, 2004 – who knows, the only variable we have to work with is (please don’t laugh), the appearance of VK Lingam. We do not even know how long the phone conversation was since the video recording started mid-conversation, we do know the minimum length to be about 8 minutes so at least that’s something. Without a date to work with even a phone record search may prove pointless.

Why all this talk about the timestamp? Its simple – lets say the recording was made in May 2002 and the names of those who would be appointed judges had not been officially decided yet. If all the persons mentioned by VK Lingam were indeed made judges then it is proof of corruption. Not an information leak mind you, because there was no official decision yet. Maybe VK Lingam is a seer in his spare time? But there is no date so we are unable to take this simple approach.

It might be possible to see when the official appointments were made and if at the time there were any meetings or phone conversations between VK Lingam or Tun Ahmad Fairuz. That connection may cast a dark shadow on the reputation of both men, but still isn’t solid proof.

Update 4th October

Malaysiakini has published an article putting established facts side by side with excerpts from VK Lingam’s phone conversation. I will not post the article itself since it is a pay-to-read publication but will quote the facts and conversation comparison relevant to establishing the date of the video. The article can be found here (link) and was my main source of reference.

1. Promotion of the three judges

There is a letter sent to … ah … CJ – I mean Tan Sri Dzaiddin – that Datuk Heliliah, …er Datuk Ramli and Datuk Maarop be made judges, and he rejected that, Dr Andrew Chew and apa itu Zainuddin Ismail lah

According to the Malaysian Superior and Subordinate Courts Annual Report 2004/2005, Heliliah Yusof, Ramly Ali and Ahmad Maarop were promoted to the High Court on February 8th, 2002. Both Dr Andrew Chew and Zainuddin Ismail were never appointed to the bench. Because VK Lingam used the present tense to refer to this letter and a subsequent memo and letter, this conversation took place before February 8th.

2. Appointment of six court of appeal judges

Tan Sri Dzaiddin said he is going to recommend six people for the court of appeal, …(cut)…  he has now asked for six court of appeal judges, so that he can put his men before he retires.

Six judges were promoted to the court of appeal on June 8th, 2002 – Pajan Singh Gill, Richard Malanjum, Arifin Zakaria, Hashim Yusoff, Abdul Aziz Mohamad and Mohd Ghazali Mohd Yusoff. So this supports the theory that the conversation took place before February 8th.

3. PCA and Chief Justice Appointment

Now I heard Raja Aziz, Raja Aziz ah, two weeks ago spoke to my lawyer Thayalan, and another lawyer Anad, in the High Court, they have a case with each other. So, Thayalan and Anad asked Ungku Aziz, how is Tan Sri Wan Adnan?

He said he is on his way down. But you know what is the shocking thing he said? Datuk Fairuz became CJM. He overruled everybody, in three months time, he is going to be PCA,  and 6 months time he is going to be CJ.

Given the context, this is just an estimated timeline most likely given by Thayalan, Anand, Ungku Aziz OR Ungku Aziz quoting Tan Sri Wan Adnan. So it is not a big deal that the actual date of appointments are President of the Court of Appeal on December 1st 2002 and Chief Justice on March 16th 2003, just over three months apart. If the timline quoted was followed exactly then the phone conversation took place in early September 2002 but the last two points indicate that the appointments were delayed.

That’s it. If we assume that the video was taken in 2002 then it would have to be taken between January 1st – February 7th.

I’m still trying to think of ways this video can be used to prove corruption and will definitely update this post if new ways come to mind.


Written by ak57

September 28, 2007 at 11:16 pm

Posted in Advice

Tagged with

Minister’s words unbecoming

Lawyers’ march unbecoming, says Nazri

PUTRAJAYA: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the lawyers’ march was “unbecoming” given that the authenticity of the videotape recording had yet to be determined.

He also shot down the Bar Council’s memorandum to the prime minister asking that a permanent judicial commission be in charge of judicial appointments.

“There’s no need (for such a judicial commission) as there is no crisis in our judiciary,” said Nazri.

“No crisis, no problems. I don’t see any scandal.

“This are all efforts by the opposition to create distrust and erode public confidence in the judiciary.

“They wish that we can be like Pakistan, but it isn’t.” (He was referring to street protests by lawyers there over the sacking of the country’s top judge.)

Nazri was speaking after attending a breaking of fast for staff of the legal affairs division in the Prime Minister’s Department.

On the regulation of judges’ conduct, Nazri said judges had their own peer system by which they regulated each other. … (cut)

– quoted from an article published in NST on 27th September 2007 (link)

Regardless of a visible crisis or not, there is a need for a judicial commission. Otherwise the practise of ‘Jobs for the boys’ (cronyism) will be kept in place. I guess since Nazri may want such practises to be maintained he has no choice but to just refuse to entertain the request. No problems? For goodness’ sake man, 2000 people just marched in protest earlier that day. Not uneducated masses, but working lawyers – a difficult course to learn, pass and be good enough to get a job. Nazri’s denial is deplorable, like a child slapping his hands to his ears and saying ‘no-no-no’.

I think the Agong can step in and straighten things out when someone as high up as the Chief Justice is found to be corrupt, but its been a while since I read the Constituition, guess I’ll pick up a copy next time I’m out.

Peer systems don’t work when everyone is friend-friend with each other and rubs each others backs at every opportunity (yes I am exaggerating, but how much I have no idea).

Written by ak57

September 27, 2007 at 10:29 pm

Posted in Local News, Nazri Nonsense

Tagged with ,

VK Lingam MIA

ACA to record lawyer’s statement over video clip

PUTRAJAYA: The Anti-Corruption Agency is looking for lawyer Datuk V. K. Lingam to assist in its investigation to determine the authenticity of a video clip of him purportedly in conversation with a top judge.

The lawyer has been abroad for the past month and messages have been left at his firm and home asking him to get in touch with ACA officers upon his return.

He is said to have gone on a business trip to the United States and Papua New Guinea with a tycoon.

Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail said he has directed the ACA to record a statement from the lawyer to verify the authenticity of the video clip.

“We want to know what he has to say about the video clip before proceeding further.”

Gani said he met with the ACA deputy director-general yesterday at his office and had directed the agency on how to handle the matter.

The ACA should start its probe soon since the matter was urgent and of public importance.

“I want them to get in touch with the lawyer when he reaches home and to record his statement.”….(cut)

– quoted from an article published in NST on 27th September 2007 (link)

First, if you haven’t seen this article in NST please click the link provided – it has a poor quality version of a great image of yesterday’s march that WAS published in NST, almost half a page in height. I’m impressed with NST’s balls at printing the image at such an eye catching size compared to The Star that ran a much smaller image that gave no clues as to the size of the gathering.

From ‘senior lawyer’ to ‘Datuk VK Lingam’ – why has Lingam lost his anonymity? In preparation for his impending scape-goat treatment perhaps? What a shock it must be to him though, going off on a holiday and hearing that wolves are waiting to catch him the moment he gets home. Why can’t ACA or the media contact him via phone anyway, at least for a comment? Who knows how long we have to wait for him to get home…well at least he’ll have to come back to renew his passport eventually.

Written by ak57

September 27, 2007 at 10:07 pm

Posted in Local News

Tagged with

March for Justice

What a shame I couldn’t go for yesterday’s march, the turnout was very impressive indeed – an estimated 2000 people including lawyers and members of the general public attended. First there was a gathering at the Palace of Justice:

Palace of Justice Gathering

Some of the buses that were ferrying people (from town I believe) were stopped by police. The dedicated passengers got off and walked an estimated 5km to the Palace. Awesome. Then the 2.5 km walk began at high noon, there’s a picture below to illustrate the size of the procession though I ran it thru a filter to prevent anyone’s face from being recognised :

A very, very long procession

Some time after they reached it started raining, but still most of the protestors put up with it and waited for the Bar Council representatives to deliver the memorandum. No FRU spraying the crowd, or arrests made or government moles starting riots – perhaps the government has learned a lesson after what happened recently in Terengganu?

*Update 30th September 2007* – NST has published a report on the march (link)

Written by ak57

September 27, 2007 at 9:34 pm

Posted in Local News

Tagged with ,

Official Response, Step 2

Panel to complete video clip probe ‘within weeks’

PUTRAJAYA: A three-member independent panel has been formed to investigate the controversial video clip of a lawyer allegedly brokering judicial appointments with a senior judge.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday the decision to establish the panel was made after discussions with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in view of the widespread perception that the standing of the judiciary was at stake.

“The decision was made as the allegations and speculations arising from the video clip cast doubt on the integrity and credibility of the judicial system.

“There is a general concern among the citizenry in that they want to be satisfied with the integrity of the judiciary,” Najib said at a press conference in his office yesterday.

The panel members are chairman Tan Sri Haidar Mohd Noor, a former chief judge of Malaya, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, National Service Training Council chairman, and Datuk Mahadev Shankar, an ex-judge of the Court of Appeal.

..(cut)…Najib said the panel would only investigate the authenticity of the video clip.

“It will be a full inquiry in that the panel will launch the necessary investigation, analyse the evidence, whether it is an authentic recording, and anything to do with the recording.”

The panel will report to the government and the findings will be made public. ..(cut)..

– quoted from an article published in NST on 26th September 2007 (link)

Ah it looks like the government is getting back on track for the plan I outlined earlier. I can’t comment on the three gentlemen appointed to this panel but since this was formed by the government instead of the impartial Royal Commission as requested by the Bar Council and Opposition I have to assume they are at least two-thirds ‘sympathetic’ to government views.

‘Within weeks’? That is interesting, such a promise only indicates that the outcome is already known – looks like VK Lingam will be a scapegoat after all. The repeated mention of ‘authenticity’ of the video clip would imply that the meaning of the word is subject to interpretation. Let me provide two possible interpretations :

Authenticity – if found authentic, all the allegations about the fixing of judicial appointments and case verdicts are true and steps will be taken to clean house.

Authenticity – if found authentic, the video IS a recording of VK Lingam and not an imposter, he is guilty of smearing the judiciary’s good name and legal action will be taken against him. Case closed.

So is the panel investigating the video, or the allegations? I think its the video 😉

Written by ak57

September 26, 2007 at 4:48 pm

Posted in Local News

Tagged with

Third Party Denial

I’m not the one, says judge – Senior judge denies being on other end of phone

KUALA LUMPUR: A senior judge has denied he was the one a lawyer was talking to in a video recording of an alleged phone conversation between the two to discuss judicial appointments.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said yesterday the judge in question had contacted him to make the denial.

“I have been told that the person on the other end (in the video-recorded conversation) was not the alleged judge,” he said.

“The judge called me to deny that he was the one talking to the lawyer.”

….Nazri also questioned the motive behind the release of the video clip, which was given to the media before it was handed to the police and the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA).

“I don’t think the person who released the video clip to the media was interested in solving a problem.

“If they want to uphold justice or want to clean up the judiciary, the police and the ACA can investigate.

“Why go to the media? The intention is questionable, was it for political mileage or for a clean judiciary?” he asked. ……

– quoted from an article published in NST on 24th September 2007 (link)

It is a bit odd for someone in the Chief Justice’s position to speak thru Nazri. I doubt it is due to fear of perjury because there is no evidence that he is the one speaking to VK Lingam. Maybe Nazri likes being in the spotlight? In any case the judge has nothing to lose by denying that he was on the phone in the conversation.

As usual Nazri tries to distract the media and readers by questioning the intent of PKR. Questioning the intent of your enemies’ apparent moral actions is a common political tactic, but in this case who do you expect will listen to you? It is widely known that the police is corrupt and if the video was not released to the media first then the whole matter would be swept under the carpet, especially with all the VIPs mentioned in it.

Written by ak57

September 25, 2007 at 3:53 pm

Posted in Local News, Nazri Nonsense

Tagged with ,

Nobody can slip away, according to Nazri

Negligence charge ‘legal’ 

KUALA KANGSAR: The possibility of the police charging the parents of murder victim Nurin Jazlin Jazimin for alleged negligence is in accordance with provisions in the Child Protection Act 2001.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said: “Law is law …we need to take action, nobody can slip away.” …

– quoted from an article published in NST on 24th September 2007 (link)

Well sir if your goal was to instill fear in the hearts of parents everywhere, then statements like this sure help a lot. Its bad enough needing to worry about murderers, rapists, molestors or a child wandering off and getting lost. Now parents have to worry about the police persecuting them too? This family has already had to suffer a lot, even more so due to the extra attention by the media.

If Nurin’s parent are charged, what would the extreme side-effect be? Next time a parent loses their child, they will think twice about reporting it to the police – instead they form their own posse to go find the kid on their own. Forming a posse is a good idea actually, but without help by the police – will vigilante justice result? All this talk about charging the parents with the crime of negligence helps to increase the public’s distrust of police. The fact is the police screwed up. But unfortunately in our country they do not serve the people. They serve the government. Right now the government needs a good distracting story to dominate our papers due to the release of the V K Lingam video.

I’m hoping this issue dies down, the parents are not charged and there is no more mention of Nurin in the media by next week (unless there is a break in the case of course). Once again I implore parents out there to keep an eye on their children and if anything were to happen, do not rely 100% on the police, take your own measures to keep your kids safe.

P.S. Its great that Nazri made a statement like that, I wonder what he will say as the V K Lingam video drama develops?

Written by ak57

September 25, 2007 at 4:27 am