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Posts Tagged ‘Mahathir

VK Lingam Testifies to the RC

VK Lingam took the witness stand yesterday. The following related articles were published on 22nd January 2008:

NSTP
Lingam: Man in clip looks and sounds like me (link)
‘I did not have Ahmad Fairuz’s phone number’ (link)

The Star
Lingam: ‘It was not Ahmad Fairuz’ (link)
I never represented Mui Fah, says Lingam (link)
Lingam: ‘I talk rubbish when I drink’ (link)
Lawyer: Don’t bring NZ holiday into the picture (link)
Vacation photo taken sometime in 1995 or 1996, says Lingam (link)

Sun’s article (including summary of Gwo Burne’s testimony) published on 22nd January 2008 (link)

Factual statements

  1. Loh Mui Fah and Gwo Burne were merely social friends who visited his home 3-4 times
  2. Knew Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah as they were neighbourhood friends
  3. Had gone on a holiday with Vincent Tan and Mohtar Abdullah to Spain and Morocco in 1995/1996
  4. Loh Mui Fah had visited (on the night in question?) as a social friend, as he often did in the past with either his son, mistress or second wife
  5. Loh Mui Fah used to visit Lingam at his office 3-4 times a year
  6. Loh Mui Fah would usually bring 3-6 bottles of wine whenever visiting Lingam in his home
  7. Had only been to Mahathir’s house in September 2005 when acting as counsel in a defamation suit against Mahathir by Anwar Ibrahim
  8. First knew Tengku Adnan when the latter was a director in one of the Berjaya Group of companies
  9. Described Vincent Tan as a good friend
  10. Described his relationship with Tun Eusoff Chin as “not extremely close”

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

  1. Having spoken to Tun Mahathir, Vincent Tan or influencing anyone else to appoint Ahmad Fairuz as Chief Judge of Malaya, Court of Appeal president or chief justice
  2. Representing Loh Mui Fah or Loh Gwo Burne at any time, however Lingam did represent Mui Fah’s father, Kim Foh
  3. Ever speaking to Fairuz on the phone
  4. That Loh Mui Fah came to his house empty handed on the night of the recording

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

  1. Saying what is in the transcript of the video to Ahmad Fairuz (basically did not remember making any recorded statement)

Ambiguous statements

  1. Would not confirm or deny if the person in the video clip was him, rather saying “it looks like me and sounds like me”
  2. Would not confirm if Loh Mui Fah was the man in a photograph taken that night (“looks like him”)
  3. Said he may have been intoxicated as the footage showed wine and whisky bottles
  4. Despite refusing to identify the person in the video clip as himself, Lingam stated:
  • That he did not know who he was speaking to and it was definitely not Ahmad Fairuz as he did not have his number nor did Fairuz have his
  • He did not know when the recorded conversation took place
  • Must have had too much to drink
  • Learned about the official secrets (regarding Zainuddin and Dr Andrew’s recommendation and subsequent rejection for judicial appointments) from gossip by the legal fraternity

Additional statements

  1. Insisted on getting his own experts to verify the authenticity of the video clip – whether it really was VK Lingam
  2. Thayalan stated that evidence related to the 1994 trip with Eusoff Chin was not relevant as the issue of ‘closeness’ being brought up by Bar Council was looked into and closed by the ACA

Either VK Lingam did not rehearse what he was going to say, or he was dead set on making a mockery out of the hearing. We know he can’t confirm that he is the man in the video clip because of the official secrets mentioned, however the ‘gossip excuse’ isn’t too bad an attempt at explaining how he knew. Better than saying he doesn’t remember or doesn’t know how he came to know official secrets. Alberto Gonzales (former USA AG) did a better job, as he consistently did not recall anything 😉 I haven’t figured out what Lingam’s strategy is yet, other than doing everything he can to throw doubt on whether the person in the video recording is really him. He’s mainly in trouble for the official secrets you see, other than that the only evidence shown so far has been a monologue on video (since it can’t be proven whether there was someone on the other end of the line), and some photos of him on holiday with Eusoff Chin, Vincent Tan and Tan Sri Mohtar.

Its not me but I may be drunk? Its not me but I wasn’t talking to Fairuz? Why didn’t the RC members press further? Only Datuk Mahadev Shanker and DPP Nordin picked on this obviously flawed testimony, as shown in the following article excerpts:

Commission member Datuk Mahadev Shanker told Lingam that his reply to Nordin could give an inference that he (Lingam) had made such statements, only that he could not remember now.

– NST

However, the lawyer denied that it was Ahmad Fairuz when asked whom it was that he was allegedly speaking to in the video clip.

“I don’t know (who it was). But certainly, I was not speaking to Tun Ahmad Fairuz because I don’t have his phone number and he doesn’t have mine.

“I’ve never spoken to him on the phone and he’s never spoken to me on the phone.”

When DPP Nordin pointed out that by replying in such a way, he was admitting to being the person in the video clip, Lingam replied: “It looks like me. You can ask me a hundred times, I’ll give you the same answer.”

– The Star

DPP Nordin asked Lingam who the person in the video was referring to when he said: “But you know the old man, at 76 years old, he gets whispers from everywhere and then you don’t whisper, he… he get… aa… aa taken away by the other side.”

“I don’t know who it was,” Lingam replied.

At this juncture, commissioner Datuk Mahadev Shankar pointed out that there were two aspects of this question – whether he had made the statement and if he did, whom was it referring to.

“I do not know whom I was referring to. I can’t remember having said this,” Lingam replied.

From this point onwards, the senior lawyer’s response to the portions of the transcript read to him was “I can’t remember having said this.”

Later, Mahadev again remarked that the inference drawn from his answer was that he had in fact made the statements but could not remember doing so.

– The Star

Written by ak57

January 22, 2008 at 11:18 pm

Mahathir Testifies to the RC

Tun Mahathir took the witness stand yesterday and after reading both the Star and NST’s transcript of the questioning I see he gave decent answers and see no reason to criticise him. Prior to this I read bloggers making fun of him for not remembering a few events or reasoning behind decisions he had made SIX years ago and I thought gosh, did Tun Mahathir behave in a hilariously incompetent manner like Alberto Gonzalez (former Attorney General of USA)? Turns out he did not, and shame on those people out there for making fun of him.

Yes there are many “I don’t remember” and “I’m uncertain” statements but if you read the transcripts in their entirety to get the flow and context, it looks quite alright in my opinion. As a general guideline if you are put on the stand:

  1. Confirm what can be proven
  2. Say what you like if its truthfulness can’t be proven (e.g. dealings that have no paper trail or documentation)
  3. “Don’t recall” if you can’t confirm whether your statement is true, even if you ‘think’ the statement is true – if you are not sure its best to ‘not remember’
  4. Be a bit ambiguous when the wording of the question can be used against you (e.g. the use of the phrase, “Were you influenced by anyone …”; influence can be misinterpreted as controlled)

Remember as former PM he is expected to know a LOT of things, even matters that he himself doesn’t personally know! Though in our country people at the top do have a despotic attitude about them so he could just blather on and still not get in trouble anyway 😉

NST transcript
Star transcript (more descriptive, but you should read both)

My summary based on Tun Mahathir’s statements follows.

List of denials (i.e. Tun Mahathir did not …)

  1. Receive a phone call from Vincent Tan in relation to Ahmad Fairuz’s appointment as chief judge of Malaya
  2. Telephone (then deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department) Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor every time Dzaiddin sent a letter to you and ask Tengku Adnan to discuss it with Vincent Tan
  3. Have meetings between him and Tun Ahmad Fairuz arranged by Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor on the appointment of judges
  4. Meet V.K. Lingam, Tengku Adnan and Vincent Tan to discuss the recommendation to appoint (the late) Tan Sri Abdul Malek Ahmad as chief judge of Malaya
  5. Reject Malek Ahmad from being appointed chief judge of Malaya because he was “anti-PM”
  6. Upon receiving a letter from Dzaiddin, call Tengku Adnan and tell him to discuss it with Vincent Tan (it is presumed this is not the letter regarding Malek Ahmad)

List of “I don’t remembers” (i.e. Tun Mahathir did not remember …)

  1. Reasons were for rejecting Chew and Zainuddin from being High Court judges
  2. Receiving any memorandum from V.K. Lingam, but might have received a letter from Eusoff Chin
  3. If the chief judge of Malaya’s appointment (Fairuz) was the reason for rejecting Chew and Zainuddin
  4. Phoning Ahmad Fairuz and (businessman) Tan Sri Vincent Tan in respect of the six Court of Appeal judges which Dzaiddin recommended
  5. That before Ahmad Fairuz was recommended as chief judge of Malaya, Dzaiddin had nominated Malek Ahmad (though he does remember some talk of that possibility)
  6. When Dzaiddin recommended Malek Ahmad, and whether a rejection was made

Unable to confirm or deny, or ambiguously answered

  1. Whether Tengku Adnan as a deputy minister in charge of law have access to the documents containing information mentioned by Lingam in the video
  2. Whether he was influenced by anyone in making his decisions
  3. Whether Vincent Tan advised him on any decision

Factual statements

  1. Mahathir knows Tan Sri Vincent Tan very well
  2. Mahathir only knew VK Lingam recently after engaging him in a case where Anwar Ibrahim sued Mahathir for defamation
  3. VK Lingam has been to Mahathir’s home once or twice after his engagement as Mahathir’s lawyer
  4. Mahathir agrees that the person in the video clip knew about Official Secrets, and that he does not know how that came to be
  5. Mahathir listens to the advice of numerous people (civil servants, senior police personnel, the ACA, etc.) in making his decisions, but his decisions are his own

Oddities
Despite documentation that Dzaiddin had recommended Malek Ahmad, Tun Mahathir still would not confirm having received the recommendation or rejecting it following that. As the legal team did not present an official letter rejecting the recommendation its safe to assume that Mahathir was free to say what he liked as there was no paper trail to disprove him. If you look at the transcript carefully Mahathir was asked many times about Malek Ahmad’s recommendation by Dzaiddin, and not once did Mahathir acknowledge receiving or rejecting it. Best illustration of that :

Commissioner Datuk Mahadev Shankar: Were your reasons for rejecting Tan Sri Abdul Malek Ahmad discussed with Dzaiddin? He suggested it, you rejected it. Did you discuss it with him?

Dr Mahathir: I normally don’t explain to anybody. This is why I made the decision. This is why. I listen to a lot of people and I make my own decision. I don’t explain to anybody.

Sidetrack by Anwar’s Lawyer
M.Puravelan wanted to ask Mahathir about a meeting between him and former Bank Negara assistant governor Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid in August 1999 at the Palace of the Golden Horses, claiming this meeting led to another Tengku Adnan, Vincent Tan and VK Lingam. His reasoning was this involved persons mentioned in the video clip and events that affected the administration of justice. Mahathir did not remember meeting Murad.

Final comments
Aren’t we all influenced by outside forces in life? I did not care much for the repeated use of the term ‘influence’ during questioning, its so open to misinterpretation.

Written by ak57

January 18, 2008 at 10:37 pm