Hutton “Whitewash” Report uproar a salutary and timely reminder of importance of establishing a Police Royal Commission with credibility and integrity, producing a report which commands public confidence and support rather than public ridicule
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): The “whitewash” uproar over the Hutton Report in the United Kingdom should be a salutary and timely reminder of the importance of establishing a Police Royal Commission with credibility and integrity, producing a report which commands public confidence and support rather than public ridicule.
Even the establishment-media, New Straits Times, has weighed in against the Hutton Report in its editorial today, “Not so fast, Blair, the jury’s still out”, citing with approval a poll by London Guardian after the Hutton verdict which showed that three times as many people trusted the BBC more than the British Government.
There is much food for thought for the new Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in his “First Hundred Days”, the government and the Malaysian people from the Hutton “Whitewash” Report uproar, viz:
Firstly, membership of an inquiry commission – with increasing doubts about the suitability of judges or ex-judges, with the scathing comment by a British journalist that the appointment of a plumber or someone “a little more observant, a little less inclined to accept without question the protestation of innocence of the ruling political elite” might be more appropriate “next time we yearn and clamour for an inquiry into some piece of governmental chicanery” to “avoid at all costs importuning a senior member of the legal community to write it”.
This is particularly pertinent when Malaysia has yet to fully recover from the ravages of a protracted crisis of confidence in the judiciary, with the country’s system of justice the subject of an indictment by the international legal and judicial community in the report “Justice in Jeopardy: Malaysia 2000” – which neither the government nor the judiciary had made a proper response.
Secondly, the state of press freedom in Malaysia. Although the Hutton Report is universally regarded as a grave threat to press freedom in the United Kingdom – is Malaysia prepared to reflect on the state of press freedom and the right to information in Malaysia, bearing in mind Abdullah’s call to be told the truth in his pledge for a clean, incorruptible, efficient and people-oriented government?
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman