KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 (ES) – While stopping short of condemning the three-man independent panel, opposition party leaders here remained adamant for the formation of a Royal Commission to look into a video clip that surfaced recently.”We will continue to voice our wish (for a Royal Commission) and we will continue to state it,” Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS) youth chief Salahudin Ayub told reporters here today, after handing a memorandum to the Conference of Rulers to reconsider the direct elevation of a lawyer earlier this month as a Federal Court judge.
Salahudin said this when asked to comment on deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announcement that the government has set up a three-man independent panel to investigate the authenticity of the video clip.
He who is also parliamentary member for Kubang Kerian, said PAS and its ally Parti Keadilan Rakyat would soon submit a joint memorandum to the Conference of Rulers urging for the formation of the Royal Commission.
Bar Council to march in Putrajaya tomorrow
On the planned marched by the Bar Council tomorrow in Putrajaya to press Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi to agree to a Royal Commission, Salahudin said PAS youth would not be participating.
“It’s up to the lawyers to march in their own capacity,” he said.
The three-man panel announced by Najib today would be headed by former Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Haidar Mohd Noor, former Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Mahadev Shankar and prominent social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye as members.
The appointment of lawyer Tan Sri Zaki Tun Azmi as the new Federal Court judge earlier this month sparked protests by the oppositions following his close links to the ruling party.
Several more senior judges in High Court and the Appellate Court, considered to be more qualified to be appointed were sidelined in the process.
The appointment was also said to have caused a friction between the executive and the Conference of Rulers.
Appointed panel insufficient – Appoint Royal Commission immediately
In a related development PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said a panel appointed by the cabinet could not be expected to do a proper, free and independent investigation into the videoclip that implicates a very senior judge as well a member of Cabinet.
“How can a video that implicates members of the cabinet be investigated by a panel appointed by and reporting to that same cabinet?,” she asked.
“A cabinet-appointed panel with no actual legal power to do investigation lacks the ability to properly investigate the scandals exposed by the video or the video itself,” she said in a statement released today.
She said only a Royal Commission appointed by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong under the Commissions of Enquiry Act, 1950 and reporting directly to His Majesty wouldl have the power to summon witnesses, compel attendance and provide immunity to witnesses for an effective investigation.
“This is the only way we can expect an investigation to be done effectively, independently, and without fear or favour,” she said.
She said “nothing less will do”, given the gravity of this video and how deeply the scandalous implications run.
She said a Royal Commission was appropriately appointed to investigate the “nude-squat” scandal that cast aspersions on the police force.
“Surely the same must be done to investigate a scandal that rocks the Malaysian judiciary to its very core,” she said.
She said a cabinet-appointed panel with no legal authority is a painfully inadequate response to the rot this video reveals; a Royal Commission is what is required and it must be set up immediately. -ES