11 May 2008

Correct, correct, correct, it's Fairuz

A royal inquiry has identified a former Malaysian chief judge as the man involved in a video clip allegedly showing a senior lawyer brokering judicial appointments, reports said today.In a front page headline, the influential Star newspaper said the inquiry panel identified former chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim as the man on the other end of the line with senior lawyer VK Lingam in the 2001 clip.The five-man inquiry panel, which submitted a lengthy report to the Malaysian King on Friday after a long hearing, found the clip to be authentic and the conversation to be true, the paper reported, quoting commission sources.Commission chairman Haidar Mohamed Noor has called for the full findings of the report to be made public but Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he had yet to read the report so could not yet decide on its release, the paper reported.
Drunk or braggingCommission officials could not be reached for comment.Former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim unleashed a furore last year by releasing the clip, which apparently showed the lawyer telling a judge over the phone that he would put him forward for a top job.The government then set up a royal commission to investigate the tape, with prominent witnesses like former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, a cabinet minister and several former high-ranking judges taking the stand.Lingam has refused to confirm he is the man in the video, and said that if it was him he must have been drunk or simply bragging.The scandal has affected the image of Malaysia's judiciary and questions have been raised over the outcome of legal cases involving figures implicated in the scandal.

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