This has become even more pertinent in the past few days, particularly as a result of two media reports yesterday making more allegations about Eusoff Chin’s New Zealand holiday with lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam.
Malaysiakini yesterday reported on what it called the "The Bowman papers", alleging that according to investigations by Bowman Investigations, a UK-based private investigation agency, Eusoff and Lingam flew together with their families for their Christmas holiday in New Zealand in 1994.
Five days earlier, veteran journalist MGG Pillai had put up an Internet
posting challenging Eusoff’s claim that he had "bumped" into Lingam
in New Zealand, giving particulars that Eusoff and Lingam had travelled
together on the same New Zealand Airways flight from Singapore to Auckland
business class and also for the internal flight sector between Auckland and Christchurch.
In my media statement on the same day, I had said that Pillai had come out with very serious allegations which if not rebutted would undermine the whole credibility of Eusoff’s explanation that he had just "bumped" into Lingam while holidaying in New Zealand.
I also called on Eusoff to resign immediately as Chief Justice if he was not prepared to instantly rebut Pillai’s allegations to spare the Malaysian judiciary and system of justice further embarassment.
Eusoff did not uphold the principle of judicial accountability as he
made no attempt to rebut Pillai’s allegations, and now, Malaysiakini
has come out with the "Bowman Papers" allegedly giving full details
of copies of Eusoff's itinerary and Lingam's counterfoil air tickets, which
show that both took the same flight from Singapore to Auckland, and
within New Zealand from Auckland to Christchurch as well as the return
flights from Christchurch-Auckland-Singapore-Kuala Lumpur.
Yesterday’s Asian Wall Street Journal in its report "LEGAL ROW MAKES WAVES IN MALAYSIA", also made more allegations about Eusoff’s controversial New Zealand holiday, reporting:
"According to airline-ticket stubs and other travel itineraries, Tun Eusoff and Datuk Lingam, together with their families, were booked on the same Air New Zealand flight from Singapore to Auckland on Dec. 22, 1994, and again four days later on a flight to Christchurch. Both families later travelled together to Queenstown on Dec 27, a 3-1/2 hour drive from Christchurch, according to people familiar with the episode in New Zealand.
"People familiar with the trip also say that Tun Eusoff complained
of a stomach ailment on Dec. 28 in Queenstown. A day later, Datuk
Lingam and Tun Eusoff spent time on a hired pleasure boat with their families.
According to people familiar with the episode, the two Malaysians rented
a 13-meter catamaran for a cruise on Lake Wakatipu just outside Queenstown.
The two families were booked on the same flights to return to Kuala Lumpur
on Dec. 30.
"Tun Eusoff didn't respond to requests to discuss the matter. An aide in his office said the chief judge was ‘very busy’. Datuk Lingam didn't respond to requests for comment."
Eusoff, who is today in Kuantan attending the annual Judicial Conference, must demonstrate his commitment to the principle of judicial accountability and integrity and cannot continue to keep silent as the Pillai’s Internet posting as well as the Malaysiakini and Asian Wall Street Journal reports, if uncontradicted, would mean that he had publicly told a lie about his New Zealand holiday with Lingam in December 1994.
Eusoff’s failure or inability to clear the cloud over his New Zealand holiday with Lingam would be reason enough why his term as Chief Justice of Federal Court should not be extended on his retirement on Monday, and if the six-month extension had been given, why it should be revoked.