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

Posts Tagged ‘Vincent Tan

Vincent Tan Testifies to the RC

Tan Sri Vincent Tan took the witness stand yesterday. The following related articles were published on 30th January 2008:

NST (link)
The Star (link)

Statements

  1. First knew Lingam in the 1970s during his tenure as unit manager at American International Assurance
  2. Lost touch with Lingam then renewed it when Lingam represented him in legal matters
  3. Described Lingam as a diligent lawyer
  4. His relationship with Lingam was not very close
  5. Stated that the man in the video looks like Lingam and sounds like Lingam but not 100% sure it is him
  6. Did not bother to lodge a police report over the clip as he was busy and it was pointless
  7. Did not know if Lingam or Eusoff Chin had numbers registered with Digi
  8. Denied influencing Tun Mahathir to appoint Tun Ahmad Fairuz as President of The Court of Appeal
  9. First knew Dr Mahathir in the early 1980s when he brought McDonald’s to Malaysia
  10. First met Tengku Adnan sometime in the 1980s or 1990s via a member of the Pahang royal family
  11. Will be re-evaluating his professional relationship with Lingam
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Written by ak57

January 30, 2008 at 10:07 pm

Posted in Lingam RC, Local News

Tagged with ,

Ahmad Fairuz Testifies to the RC

Ahmad Fairuz took the witness stand yesterday. The following related articles were published on 29 January 2008:

NSTP
It was not me talking to Lingam (link)

The Star
Former CJ: I did not call Lingam (link)

Video clip related statements

  1. Viewed the video on his former secretary’s computer but it was not clear and kept breaking (most likely streaming – ak57)
  2. Was given a copy of the news article and transcript of the video on the evening of 19 September 2007, by his former secretary
  3. Felt it was defamatory but claimed it was a fabrication and the man speaking was trying to impress his listeners
  4. Had written to the PM, DPM and Nazri on the allegation and his position.
  5. Did not lodge a police report when the video clip was posted online last year because the news portal revealed that a report would be lodged with ACA and Bar Council
  6. Did not want to file a defamation suit as newspaper articles did not name him as the person speaking to Lingam
  7. Was not the man speaking to Lingam and the contents of the transcript were false, and just a monologue
  8. Did not respond to reporters as he did not want to jeopardise ACA investigations
  9. Did not know Lingam’s number and had never given his mobile number to him
  10. Had not met or contacted Lingam after September 19, 2007
  11. Could not identify Lingam in the video clip, but said the voice was similar

Corruption related statements

  1. Knew Lingam, Vincent Tan and Tengku Adnan thru functions and official business
  2. Had only met VK Lingam once or twice in court and once at the PM’s residence
  3. Never had a meeting with Lingam, Vincent Tan and Tengku Adnan to secure his appointment as President of the Court of Appeal and Chief Justice
  4. Never sought the help of Tengku Adnan and Vincent Tan through VK Lingam to confirm his position as President of the Court of Appeal
  5. Never made a plan or pact between himself, Lingam, Vincent Tan and Tengku Adnan to secure his appointment as President of the Court of Appeal and Chief Justice at any time
  6. Does not know if Dzaiddin ever recommended Abdul Malek Ahmad as CJ
  7. Denied calling Lingam to thank him for his efforts in securing his job position

Nothing surprising to me here really, he gave ok answers explaining his silence to the public after the clip was released. Why did nobody ask about the day Nazri spoke on his behalf though? Fairuz could have released a statement saying he is maintaining his silence until the ACA investigation is completed, that seems safe enough whether he is guilty or innocent. Maybe Fairuz is just arrogant and doesn’t care about public view of the Chief Justice? *shrugs*

The ‘news portal’ is Malaysiakini by the way, NST has yet to acknowledge its existence directly. Reading NST and Star can be quite amusing as both are controlled by the government. If you read the Star article they mentioned Malaysiakini specifically. I’m not sure when they started though, I rarely read The Star as I have never read anything it that was not biased towards the government.

Written by ak57

January 29, 2008 at 10:57 pm

Lingam-Eusoff Working Closely

NZ trip shortly after mega win

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk V.K. Lingam and former chief justice Tun Mohamed Eusoff Chin went for their New Zealand holiday shortly after the lawyer’s client Tan Sri Vincent Tan won RM10mil in damages in a libel case.

Testifying on Day 8 of the inquiry, Lingam said the defendants appealed right up to the Federal Court but lost their case.

He said he acted as Tan’s lawyer in the appeal up to that stage while Eusoff chaired the panel, which threw out the appeal. Neither he nor Eusoff declared that they had gone on holiday together.

Lingam said this in response to questions by Robert Lazar, counsel for the Malaysian Bar.

Lazar: When the appeal was heard, did Eusoff inform the parties that he and you had been on a holiday together?

Lingam: To my knowledge, he did not.

Lazar: Did you inform the counsel for the appellants that you had been on a holiday with Eusoff?

Lingam: No I did not.

Lazar: I now move on to another case even more controversial. In 1995, you appeared for two parties in the High Court – Insas Bhd and Megapolitan Nominees Sdn Bhd?

Lingam: Yes. I was instructed by Michael Lim, a senior partner of Shearn Delamore (Lazar is a partner in the same firm) to appear in this case. He asked me to act for them as he was a director of Insas.

Lazar: And this case involved Ayer Molek Rubber Company Bhd?

Lingam: Yes, shares of Ayer Molek Rubber Company.

Lazar: This was another case that was very high profile?

Lingam: Yes, it became high profile.

This line of questioning then prompted Commission chairman Tan Sri Haidar Mohd Noor to ask Lazar where he was getting to.

Lazar explained that he wanted to show that soon after the New Zealand holiday in 1994, Lingam had appeared before Eusoff in court.

Lazar added that he also wanted to show that some people “had acted out of the norm” in the Ayer Molek shares matter.

“We are saying there are features in this case serious enough to lend support to ascertain Lingam’s assertion that when Tun Eusoff was in power, I can straight get,” Lazar said, before Commissioner Datuk Mahadev Shankar interjected:

“So, we have come to the pom, pom, pom, pom part.”

Earlier, Lingam admitted that he had prior to the New Zealand holiday, appeared before Eusoff who was a judge in the High Court.

Lazar: And how often did you appear before Tun Eusoff in the High Court?

Lingam: I have appeared mostly in the Cooperative Central Bank (CCB) case for the employees who are retrenched and a case involving those dismissed by the Income Tax department.

Lazar: Roughly how many appearances?

Lingam: I can’t recall. You are talking about 14 years ago. To the best of my recollection, maybe there was a worker’s case involving certiorari.

Lazar: Any other?

Lingam: None whatsoever.

Lazar: But when you went for this trip, Tun Eusoff was already the Chief Justice?

Lingam: I think so.

Lazar: On May 21, 1994, he was appointed Chief Justice. Your holiday was in December 1994. Just prior to this holiday – a well deserved break no doubt – you did a matter that had a very high profile, a libel suit involving Tan Sri Vincent Tan?

Lingam: That’s correct.

Lazar: That was a suit filed in 1994?

Lingam: That is correct.

Lazar: This is the suit that Vincent Tan sued among others, the late MGG Pillai?

Lingam: That is correct.

Lazar: This was a case that started in 1994 and ended in 1994. Judgment was entered on Oct 22, 1994.

Lingam: That’s right.

Lazar: That is after a full trial, and not a summary trial?

Lingam: That’s right.

Lazar: Damages of RM10mil was awarded against Pillai?

Lingam: Total damages against all defendants was RM10mil. Against Pillai, if I recollect clearly, was only RM2mil.

Lazar: The case attracted a large amount of publicity in the local newspapers?

Lingam: Yes.

Lazar: It was a much talked-about case?

Lingam: It attracted publicity but I don’t know about much talked-about.

Lazar: It attracted publicity because it was a ground-breaking case?

Lingam: Yes, that is one view you could look at.

Lazar: Would you say that that case started the trend of mega damages?

Lingam: Possible.

Later in the afternoon, Ranjit Singh, another lawyer representing the Bar, tendered eight photographs taken of Lingam, Eusoff and their families during their New Zealand holiday in December 1994.

When asked if he remembered where the photos were taken, Lingam said he could not remember as they were taken over 13 years ago.

“It must be New Zealand but I don’t know which part,” he said.

When Ranjit Singh asked if he could confirm that several photos of the holiday taken on a boat was at Lake Wakatipu near Queenstown, New Zealand, Lingam replied: “I don’t recollect this lake. It looks like Papua New Guinea.”

To this, Ranjit Singh responded: Are you suggesting that you’ve also gone to Papua New Guinea with Tun Eusoff?

Lingam shook his head.

He later confirmed that both his and Eusoff’s families were the only people on the boat apart from the crew.

He also told the commission that the then Chief Justice had rented the entire boat to himself.

Asked how he and his family ended up on the same boat, Lingam said: “I spoke to him and asked if we could go along with him and he said okay.”

At one point, Lingam demanded that the negatives of the photographs be tendered to court to clear doubts about them being doctored or tampered with.

To this, Ranjit Singh replied that the negatives were with another lawyer, Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who had also provided the Bar with ticket stubs from the New Zealand trip.

Among these ticket stubs, which were tendered to court, were two bearing the names of Lingam’s wife and Eusoff’s daughter stapled together.

Asked about this, Lingam replied that anyone could have stapled them together.

When it was pointed out that it came with a cover bearing both names, Lingam replied: “I’ve never seen this before. You have to call the maker of this.”

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

I’m surprised that NST did not mention this at all, given that they were pro-exposing Lingam since September whereas Star revealed precious little until the RC was formed. Kudos to Robert Lazar for trying to get ‘case fixing’ heard in the RC despite being told before it was not in their scope.

NZ Trip related facts

  1. Lingam had gone on the NZ trip shortly after winning a 1994 libel case for Vincent Tan
  2. The case was from May 21 1994 – Oct 22 1994
  3. Damages of RM10 million was awarded against the defendants, 2 million of which was against MGG Pillai
  4. Eusoff Chin chaired the panel that threw out the defendants’ appeal
  5. Neither Eusoff or Lingam informed involved parties of the case about the NZ trip
  6. Lingam could not remember in which parts of NZ the additional 8 photographs shown were taken
  7. Eusoff had rented the boat that their families took at Lake Wakatipu (near Queenstown)
  8. Lingam had asked Eusoff whether it would be ok to go along on the boat trip

Other facts

  1. Lingam had appeared before Eusoff during his tenure as a High Court judge
  2. In 1995 Lingam appeared for Insas Bhd and Megapolitan Nominees Sdn Bhd in High Court
  3. Michael Lim, director of Insas and senior partner of Shearn Delamore (of which Lazar is a partner) instructed Lingam to appear for those two companies
  4. This high profile case involved shares of Ayer Molek Rubber Company Bhd

Noteworthy evidence presented

  1. Eight photographs take of Lingam, Eusoff and their families during the NZ trip
  2. Two ticket stubs bearing Eusoff’s daughter’s name and Lingam’s wife’s name stapled together, along with a cover with both their names

Finally I hear evidence of professional misconduct being presented before the RC 🙂 Given the cheque presented previously, the NZ trip might even have been a reward? The ticket stubs help prove the trip was planned together and testimony from Lingam’s or Eusoff’s secretary should prove the planning beyond doubt.

Five months for a case with a damages award of RM10 million is remarkably short. I hope to hear more evidence like this, but given Haidar and Mahadev’s putting a stop to that line of questioning maybe I won’t be so lucky.

Written by ak57

January 25, 2008 at 11:05 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