(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): It is most regrettable that the Parliamentary Oppositiion was not consulted on the composition and terms of reference of the Commission of Inquiry into the police assaults on former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim while under police custody until he got a "black eye" and other injuries, which would have helped restore the badly-battered public confidence in the past four months as a result of government attempts to avoid accountability on this scandal.
As the Parliamentary Opposition has not been consulted on the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry, all it can do for the moment is to suspend judgement and to urge the Commission headed by former Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Anuar Zainal Abidin, and comprising former Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mahadev Shankar, Pantai Medical Centre’s consultant orthopaedic surgeon Datuk Dr. Yeoh Poh Hong and former Attorney-General Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman to be fully mindful of the importance to gain and maintain national and international confidence in its independence, integrity and professionalism.
There are four prerequisites for the Anuar Commission of Inquiry into Anwar’s "black eye" to secure such national and international confidence, firstly, the undoubted integrity of everyone of the four members; secondly, the public conduct of the Commission’s proceedings; thirdly, its preparedness to conduct a full and no-holds-barred investigation including the summoning of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to give evidence in his capacity as the Home Minister at the time; and fourthly, the immediate assurance that its report would be made public.
I am shocked at a report in the New Straits Times today that the Commission of Inquiry would submit its findings directly to the Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah.
This is completely unacceptable. I call on the Prime Minister or the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to clarify and assure Malaysians and the world that the Anuar Commission of Inquiry into Anwar’s "black eye" is a Royal Commission of Inquiry answerable only to the Yang di Pertuan Agong, Parliament and the nation and not subordinate or beholden in anyway to the Attorney-General.
In fact, one of the areas of investigation by the Anuar Commission of Inquiry should be into the role of the Attorney-General in the past four months in the investigation into Anwar’s "black eye" and why he had not been able to get to the bottom of the truth as to who were the police person or persons responsible for the assault of Anwar when in police custody in the most innermost sanctum of the police high command in Bukit Aman on Sept. 20 last year.
The Attorney-General should be one of the witnesses who should be summoned to appear before the Commission of Inquiry to give evidence to help in its investigations.
The Anuar Commission of Inquiry should not be submitting its report to the Attorney-General, but to the Yang di Pertuan Agong, and the report should be made public instantaneously of its submission to the Yang di Pertuan Agong.
It is then up to the Attorney-General to study the Report of the Commission of Inquiry to consider what actions should be taken by the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
There should be no question of the Attorney-General being privy to the Report beforehand or that the Attorney-General should decide whether the Report of the Anuar Commission of Inquiry should be made public or not.
Apart from testifying before the Commission, the Attorney-General should stay out completely from the operations of the Commission of Inquiry and not interfere or intrude in any manner in its investigations if he is not to compromise or undermine national and international confidence in its independence, integrity and professionalism.