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Tengku Adnan Testifies to the RC

I had nothing to do with it, says Tengku Adnan

KUALA LUMPUR: Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said yesterday that he had nothing to do with the appointment of judges, although lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam mentioned his name 11 times in a video clip.”I think the person who is engaged in a conversation in the clip is drunk,” he said in dismissing one of the statements read out from a written transcript by Datuk Azmi Ariffin, who is assisting the hearing by the Royal Commission of Inquiry.


Tengku Adnan said he knew Lingam and tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan, the other person Lingam kept referring to in the conversation.

“I knew them when I was in business. I had little contact with them after I joined the government,” said Tengku Adnan, who was a deputy minister and later minister in the Prime Minster’s Department between 2001 and 2002.

During that period, he was in charge of legal affairs which included the judiciary.

Azmi: Do you know Lingam?

Tengku Adnan: Yes, I know Lingam in the course of my business dealings.

Azmi: What was your relationship with Tan?

Tengku Adnan: I knew him since the 1990s when I was in business.


He identified the man in the clip as Lingam. Azmi then showed Tengku Adnan the transcript on Lingam’s conversation in the 14-minute clip and proceeded to question him on the statements where Lingam mentioned his name on 11 occasions.

It was during the ninth question by Azmi that Tengku Adnan said Lingam could have been in a state of intoxication.

Tengku Adnan dismissed a suggestion by Azmi that he had influenced former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in appointing Ahmad Fairuz as chief judge of Malaya and Court of Appeal president between 2001 and 2002.

He also said it was not true that he had discussed with Lingam and Tan on the appointment of judges.

Azmi: Do you think what Lingam said in the clip was true after viewing the clip?

Tengku Adnan: No.

To a question by Bar Council lawyer Christopher Leong, the minister said he had no access to classified documents that were tendered in court on Wednesday through former chief secretary to the government Tan Sri Samsudin Osman.

The letters were correspondence between Dr Mahathir and former Chief Justice Tun Dzaiddin Abdullah from 2001 and 2002 on the appointment of judicial officers.

Leong: Would it be correct to say that you knew Tan because you were a shareholder in companies that belonged to him?

Tengku Adnan: Yes, because I was a shareholder in the Berjaya Group of companies.

Leong: Were you a director in some of the companies?

Tengku Adnan: Yes, but I cannot remember which companies.

Leong proceeded to ask Tengku Adnan of his past business connections in other companies, but commission chairman Tan Sri Haidar Mohamed Noor stopped him.

“Why ask this question? The minister has already admitted to being a shareholder and a director when he was in business,” he said.

Leong replied that this line of questioning was to show that Tengku Adnan and Tan were close associates.

Tengku Adnan said he only met Tan at public functions now. He said he knew Lingam was one of the panel lawyers of Berjaya and described his contact with the man as “extremely limited”.

Leong: There was a letter between Dr Mahathir and Dzaiddin to reject two names recommended for judicial appointment. The speaker (Lingam) states that his source of information came from you. What have you got to say?

Tengku Adnan: It’s strange but it did not come from me.

Leong: Would you have any objection to making your telephone numbers available to the commission?

Tengku Adnan: No problem.

M. Puravelan, counsel for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, asked the witness whether he had met Tan and Tan Sri Abdul Murad Khalid at his home in Jalan Duta in August 1995.

When Tengku Adnan said he did not meet the two men, Puravelan claimed he had documents to show that he did. Haidar stopped counsel from pursuing the matter, saying it was irrelevant.

– quoted from an article published in NST on 18th January 2008 (link)

Christopher Leong, who represented the Bar Council, had asked why he thought Lingam would “of all names, pick out your name when you hardly know him?”

Tengku Adnan replied: “My name is not only dropped here, not only by V.K. Lingam. People who want to build mosques, seek donations also use my name.

– quoted from an article published in The Star on 18th January 2008 (link)

Tengku Adnan sure helped Lingam by putting forward a ‘he might be drunk’ defense 😉 Its a pretty good defense because it can’t be disproved, plus the bottles of liquor and (I’m certain) upcoming testimonies of those present to say alcohol was consumed…well that just helps strengthen the argument.

I’m a bit curious with Leong’s interest in trying to establish that Tengku Adnan and Vincent Tan were best of friends or the equivalent. Honestly speaking, they could be BFF (Best Friends Forever) but that does not help prove corruption at all – tie that in with official decisions by Tengku Adnan that were always favourable to Vincent Tan and then you might have something. Though that would probably be outside the terms of reference for the RC.

Perhaps the Bar Council strategy is to establish friendly relations between Lingam-Fairuz-Mahathir-Vincent Tan-Tengku Adnan first, then follow up with those ‘overly favorable’ official decisions?

Leong’s question of why did VK Lingam mention Tengku Adnan’s name seems to imply that the mere mention of a person’s name is enough to imply guilt. Tengku Adnan’s reply that the practice of name-dropping his name is not restricted to VK Lingam was pretty good 🙂

Again Puravelan asked about the meeting with Tan Sri Abdul Murad Khalid, similar to the question he posed to Tun Mahathir, to which Tengku Adnan replied no. I am glad that Haidar stopped Puravelan from continuing though because that would be an attempt to broaden the search for corruption beyond the current scope, which is ‘corruption in the process of appointment of positions in the judiciary’.

Since Murad was not mentioned in the video clip that prompted the creation of the RC, trying to fish for corruption from all these famous chaps is not something I approve of anyway. You want to fish, get evidence.


Written by ak57

January 18, 2008 at 11:00 pm

Posted in Lingam RC, Local News

Tagged with ,

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