Ak57\’s Weblog

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Posts Tagged ‘Zaitun Zawiyah

An Attempt at Recusal

Three members see no reason to step down

KUALA LUMPUR: Three members of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the “Lingam tape” issue refused to recuse (disqualify) themselves from the hearing yesterday despite objections from a lawyer.

Chairman Tan Sri Haidar Mohamed Noor, Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong and Puan Sri Zaitun Zawiyah Puteh declined to do so after an application by M. Puravalen, lead counsel for Parti Keadilan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Bar Council lawyer Robert Lazar also applied to disqualify Haidar and Shim, advocating similar grounds as Puravalen.

Puravalen claimed there was a likelihood of bias as Haidar was a trustee of the Perdana Foundation headed by a witness, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, a point that the former chief judge of Malaya refuted.

Haidar said there was little contact between him and Dr Mahathir.

“I attend the meetings once a year, so there is very little interaction between the two of us.”

Puravalen had said that there might be a perception of bias among members of the public if Haidar continued to head the commission.

“Another witness who was also mentioned several times in the video is businessman Tan Sri Vincent Tan. He is also a trustee of the Perdana Foundation.”

On Shim’s recusal, Puravalen said the former chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak was also mentioned in the video clip.

“(Shim) was said to have obtained his Tan Sri title before another person. There is a possibility that he (Shim) will be called as a witness to explain how he got his title that quickly.”

Shim rejected this claim, saying he also did not see the need to recuse himself. “I am not convinced at this point in time that I should recuse myself, but I am prepared to do so if there are further developments during the proceedings which may put me in such a position.”

He added: “In my experience as a judge, I have always taken the initiative to recuse myself if there are good grounds for doing so rather than wait for an application to be made.”

Puravalen said former solicitor-general Zawiyah should withdraw as she had been involved in some of Anwar’s cases as senior federal counsel.

Zawiyah said she had merely been doing her duties as a government servant.

“The decisions in those cases were made by the court, not by me.”

– quoted from an article published in NST on 15th January 2008 (link)

As for Zaitun Zawiyah, the former Solicitor-General, Puravalen argued that she had appeared as the Government’s counsel in the cases between Anwar and Dr Mahathir.

– quoted from a similar article published in The Star on 15th January 2008 (link)

I didn’t think Anwar had a snowball’s chance in Hell of getting any of the commissioners to recuse themselves, but it was worth a shot. I agree with the reasons for disqualifyng Haidar and Shim, but for Zaitun seems a bit of a stretch unless you consider that Tun Mahathir is one of the guilty parties of the crime of fixing judicial appointments.

Written by ak57

January 15, 2008 at 10:50 pm