Abdullah Badawi should speak up to clarify questions and doubts before the erosion of public confidence in the Commission of Inquiry into Anwarís "black eye" even before it has started investigations


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): I call on the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad  Badawi to speak up and clarify numerous questions and  doubts  before the erosion of public confidence in the Commission of Inquiry even before it has started investigations into the "black eye" and other injuries sustained by former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim while under police custody.

I have said that I am suspending judgement about the composition and terms of  reference of the Commission of Inquiry as the parliamentary opposition had not been consulted before its constitution and announcement.

However, in the past three days, there have been  swirling questions and growing doubts about the independence, integrity and professionalism of the Commission of Inquiry, about the past record and known associations of certain members appointed to the Commission, with one alleging that the Commission had already been "tainted" with such composition.

This is why I had suggested yesterday the appointment of  two additional members to the Commission of Inquiry after consultation with the Opposition and NGOs so as to secure full public confidence in the Commission of Inquiry.

Right from the outset, every member of the Commission of Inquiry should be mindful of the need to command public confidence in his independence, integrity and professionalism and if there is any reason why such public confidence might come under question, such a member should decline appointment to the Commission of Inquiry or resign as Commissioner to protect the reputation and integrity of the Commission.

Among the issues which Abdullah should immediately clarify to put to rest the swirling questions and growing doubts about the Commission of Inquiry are:
 

Abdullah  should be forewarned that  public confidence would take another serious  nose-dive if the government prevaricates on these four issues.

The outbursts by the newly-appointed Deputy Minister in the Prime Ministerís Department, Datuk Ibrahim Ali, is not calculated to enhance public confidence in the Commission of Inquiry.

Ibrahim Ali attacked the DAP for making an issue as to whether the Commission of Inquiry should submit its report to the Attorney-General or to the Yang di Pertuan Agong, saying that this "a political gimmick" and he accused me of not being sincere and seeking "political mileage" by raising the issue.

I am not surprised by the shallowness of  Ibrahim Aliís views and Malaysians are tired of Ibrahim Aliís pyrotechnics. Ibrahim Ali is the  most famous political "frog" in the government front bench and  it is clear that he has not emerged from the proverbial well in his thinking and perceptions.

What really shocks me is the news report that Ibrahim Ali has been given the portfolio of legal affairs in the Prime Ministerís Department, which heralds a really "black day" for law and justice in Malaysia.

What has Malaysia come to that a person like Ibrahim Ali has been given charge of the portfolio of legal affairs which makes him  the custodian of law and justice and the government spokesman on issues affecting judges and lawyers.  Simply out of self-respect, all the judges and lawyers  should protest that Ibrahim Ali has been given the portfolio of legal affairs in the Prime Ministerís Department and demand that he should be replaced with another more acceptable Deputy Minister.

(30/1/99)


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong