Although the amended defence was subsequently disallowed by the High Court judge, Judge R. K. Nathan, on technical grounds, the contents of the unsuccessful amended defence had been made public and published in the mass media, and as such, it has become a matter of great public interest as it has a direct bearing on public confidence on the independence and integrity of the judiciary.
The Asian Wall Street Journal, in its issue of August 31, 1999, gave
a report on the proposed amended defence, as follows:
"In his defense against the charges, filed in September 1996, Mr. Pura stated he never made the comments that the British magazine attributed to him.
"In the proposed amended defense, filed with the High Court last week, Mr. Pura's lawyers said he continues to deny saying what he is quoted as saying. It also says that if the words quoted in the magazine ‘in their natural and ordinary meaning mean that the reputation of Malaysia's justice system is falling and that the plaintiffs have been identified as contributing to that together with their lawyer . . . then the said words are true in substance and in fact.’
"The proposed amended defense discusses a libel proceeding brought by Tan Sri Tan, against M.G.G. Pillai, in which High Court Judge Dato Moktar Sidin awarded Tan Sri Tan 10 million ringgit.
"The document alleges that the 1994 judgment was ‘written in part by the plaintiff's counsel, Dato V.K. Lingam, and initially typed by the said Dato V.K. Lingam's secretaries, viz. one Jayanthi and Sumanthi.’ Further, the document claimed, the judgment was ‘corrected by the said Dato V.K. Lingam and the final draft dispatched’ to the judge ‘on floppy disk.’
"According to the document, the lawyer placed Chief Justice Tun Eusoff Chin in his debt by getting their families to holiday together in New Zealand. The holiday involved flights together to luxury resorts in Queenstown and Christchurch, the document alleged, where Dato V.K. Lingam and the chief justice ‘posed for pictures with their arms around each other and with each other's families.’ The document said the defense will make copies of the photographs ‘available on further discovery.’"
These are very serious allegations which, if true, strike at the very roots of judicial independence and integrity, and I am very surprised that there had been no response from either Chief Justice whether there had been "inappropriately close relations" between him and Datuk Lingam as to place the Chief Justice in Dato Lingam's debt "notoriously" or from Datuk Moktar Sidin.
DAP calls on Tun Eusoff Chin and Datuk Moktar Sidin to vacate their judicial posts until they are vindicated by an independent inquiry as both have not responded to very serious charges affecting their integrity striking at the very root of judicial independence.
The silence of the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah to the very serious allegations of judicial impropriety against the Chief Justice and a Court of Appeal judge is also very surprising, as he should be the last person to stand on the legal technicality that the proposed amended defence had not been disallowed but to proceed to ascertain as to whether there is truth or otherwise in the allegations made by the Asian Wall Street Journal reporter.