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VK Lingam Testifies to the RC Part 2

VK Lingam took the witness stand again yesterday. As the commission ruled that the Malaysian Bar could continue questioning Lingam on the trip, it was quite a comedy! The following related articles were published on 25th January 2008:

NSTP

  1. I booked my holiday separately, says Lingam (link)

The Star

  1. Lingam was bragging (link)
  2. Lawyer insists he and Eusoff Chin planned their NZ trip separately (link)

Factual statements

  1. His flights were booked by Holiday Tours & Travel (same as Eusoff Chin), only confirmed after being confronted with evidence
  2. His family and Eusoff Chin’s stayed at separate hotels
  3. Met Eusoff Chin in Auckland at the zoo, then at a bird park
  4. Shared a van with Eusoff to journey from christchurch to Queenstown
  5. There was a discussion with Eusoff on sharing the cost of the Queenstown trip

List of denials (i.e. VK Lingam denied …)

  1. That his secretary’s name being on Eusoff Chin’s itinerary was because it was planned by himself and Eusoff
  2. That his ticket was issued by Holiday Tours & Travel until confronted with evidence (the cheque)
  3. That the 15 minute time difference between the KL-Singapore flights was planned to avoid being seen with Eusoff Chin in KL
  4. Tagging along with Eusoff Chin the whole time his family was in Auckland
  5. Spending most of his time in Auckland with Eusoff Chin
  6. Staying in the same accommodation as Eusoff while in Auckland

List of “I don’t remembers” (i.e. VK Lingam does not remember …)

  1. When his family decided to go on the NZ trip
  2. Which travel agency he used, claimed it was Udara Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd
  3. If his family spent the night in Queenstown

Ambiguous statements

  1. Insisted that it was a coincidence that his trip was booked through the same travel agent as Tun Eusoff Chin’s
  2. Did not know why his secretary’s name was written on Eusoff Chin’s itinerary (quote, “There are many Indian women called Jeyanthi”)

Additional statements by Lingam

  1. It was a coincidence that Lingam and Tun Eusoff used the same travel agent, the itinerary covered the same locations and the flights were on the same dates
  2. Their meeting at Changi Airport was a coincidence

Misc. events

  1. Eusoff’s counsel Zamani Ibrahim aligned himself with Thayalan and Ahmad Fairuz’s lawyer on their submissions regarding the relevance of the NZ trip

Noteworthy evidence presented

  1. A Bank of Nova Scotia cheque dated Dec 21, 1994 for RM24,912 signed by Lingam and made out to Holiday Tours & Travel Sdn Bhd.
  2. Eight photographs of Lingam and Eusoff and their families during their NZ trip (negatives with Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah)

I am reminded of a saying that goes something like this, “Two coincidences might be just that, but three coincidences is a conspiracy”. It appears that VK Lingam has not learned any lessons from his previous testimony and subsequent newspaper reports on it. Either that or he’s determined to make a public mockery of the RC hearings.

So the poor answers continued, e.g. this explanation of why Jeyanthi’s name was on Eusoff’s itinerary, “There are many Indian women called Jeyanthi“. He could have added, “I do not know why Eusoff Chin has my secretary’s name written on his itinerary, perhaps you should ask the two of them“.

I’m a bit curious why Shafee Abdullah has the negatives to photographs that both Lingam and Eusoff Chin wouldn’t want spread around. What’s his involvement?

The next part of the questioning focused on the video clip:

‘I can talk rubbish in my house’

KUALA LUMPUR: “My house is my castle. I am the king in my house. I can choose to talk rubbish even if I am drunk,” lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam said yesterday.

He was replying to a question by Ranjit Singh who appeared for the Bar Council at the hearing by the Royal Commission of Inquiry on a controversial video clip.

Ranjit had asked Lingam why he discussed the appointment of judges when he was drunk.

(cut)

Ranjit: Why talk of judicial appointments in the presence of Loh Mui Fah and his son Gwo Burne?

Lingam: I can even pretend to talk to President Bush if I like.

Ranjit: Why specifically say that?

Lingam: I don’t remember saying that. If I had referred to then chief judge of Malaya Datuk Ahmad Fairuz’s (Sheikh Abdul Halim) name, then I am sorry. But I was bull****ting and bragging.

Ranjit: Are you suggesting that you were bull****ting and bragging?

Lingam: Yes, I could be bull****ting and bragging.

Ranjit then referred to the clip which showed several wine, whisky and 7-Up bottles.

He asked Lingam whether the lawyer was now claiming to be tipsy after seeing the bottles in the clip.

“That is quite a lot for people to drink and get drunk,” Lingam said.

Commission chairman Tan Sri Haidar Mohamed Noor asked Lingam why Mui Fah and Gwo Burne, who claimed to be social friends, would go against him.

Lingam: If they believe that I was involved in fixing judges, they should have gone to the ACA or the police and made a report. They should have said, “Charge this fellow” but they kept the clip for over six years.

Commission member Datuk Mahadev Shankar also asked Lingam whether he was disputing that the person in the photograph taken in New Zealand was him (Lingam).

Lingam said he was not disputing it.

Mahadev: Why is it that when it comes to the clip, you are now saying that it might not be you? How many per cent of that is you?

Lingam: I only said that the man in the clip looks and sounds like me. I did not say he was 100 per cent like me. I do not want to enter into a mathematical debate.

He added that the expert findings by Mohd Zabri Adil Talib on the identity and the voice of the man in the clip was fundamentally flawed.

“I will be the first to admit if my experts say so.

“Until then, I will not confirm without the report,” he said.

Haidar then interjected that Mui Fah and Gwo Burne had positively identified that he was the man in the clip.

“You will have my evidence.

“Fairness demands that I be given the opportunity. I think I have made myself clear about the matter,” Lingam said.

– quoted from an article published in NST on 25th January 2008 (link)

I agree with Lingam somewhat on one thing – that a person should be free to say what he/she likes in the privacy of their home, without the expectation that what they say will be recorded and spread around in the public domain. Especially if they are drunk, a state that can’t be proved or disproved in this case. You don’t believe politicians speak on camera the same way the speak at home right?

Other than that the rest of his statements were nonsensical, though I am curious how the RC will resolve conflicting evidence once Lingam’s experts return with a report saying the video clip could have been manufactured. Remember Lingam won’t send the video to be analysed by anyone unless they can confirm or throw serious doubt on it authenticity, due to the official secrets mentioned.

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Written by ak57

January 25, 2008 at 10:33 pm

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