Friday May 16, 2008 MYT 9:11:20 PM
Royal Commission of Inquiry report: Dr M and 5 others to face probe
By V.P. SUJATA
PUTRAJAYA: The Cabinet has agreed that investigations be made on all allegations levelled against former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and five others identified in the Royal Commission of Inquiry report on the V.K. Lingam video clip.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim said the five others are lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam, tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, and former chief justices Tun Eusoff Chin and Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail could not be contacted on whether he would order for the probe immediately.
Zaid said the six would be investigated on offences under the Sedition Act, Official Secrets Act and the Penal Code, which included obstruction of justice.
“All the recommendations in the report are advisory in nature so we have to have another investigation,” he said, adding that the Government had taken note of recommendations on judicial reforms and the establishment of a commission on appointment of judges.
“The Government is in the process of finalising the relevant laws to set up this commission and it will be made known soon,” he said, adding that Government also proposed to include the recognition of “judicial power” as proposed by the Commission.
He said these moves were vital to help restore the people’s confidence in the judiciary.
The Cabinet, he said, had urged the public including the media to allow uninterrupted investigations without undue pressure and prejudice against any individual identified in the report.
“It must be reiterated that in our legal system, an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law,” he told reporters at the Legal Affairs Division (BHEUU) of the Prime Minister’s Department here Friday.
The Royal Commission was formed to verify the authenticity of the videotape purportedly showing Lingam on the phone brokering judicial appointments with a senior judge. Twenty-one witnesses testified in the 17-day inquiry starting on Jan 14.
The Royal Commission members are former chief judge of Malaya Tan Sri Haidar Mohamed Noor who acted as chairman, former appeals court judge Datuk Mahadev Shankar, former Sabah and Sarawak chief judge Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong, former solicitor-general Puan Sri Zaitun Zawiyah Puteh and historian Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Khoo Kay Kim.
Zaid also said that the Cabinet agreed for the contents of the report to be released and sold to the public.
The report, which comes in four volumes comprising 186 pages, will cost RM541.60; of which the main report cost RM161.40 while the notes of proceedings, statutory declaration and lists of exhibits are priced at RM123.30, RM120, and RM136.90 respectively.
The public can buy the report at the BHEUU office from Tuesday afternoon.