"Conversation In Video Clip Is A Slander," Says Former CJ Fairuz. Is This True?
Ahmad Fairuz, who testified before the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the controversial video clip, said he did not know why the man in the video clip, who was said to be lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam, had linked his name in the conversation and slandered him.
"I don't know why he (Lingam) did it, may be he was merely trying to impress other people there that he knew the prime minister and other dignitaries, and that he knew the Chief Judge of Malaya," he said when replying to lawyer Salehuddin Saidin, who was representing him.
Replying to another question from Salehuddin, Fairuz said when he held the posts of Chief Judge of Malaya, Appeals Court President and Chief Justice, he did not know that there were people who had tried to help by lobbying for him to get the posts.
Ahmad Fairuz said he first came to know about the video clip through his former secretary on the same day that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim made the announcement to expose the video clip on Nov 19, last year.
He said that in the afternoon of that day (Nov 19), his former secretary had given him two articles obtained from the Malaysiakini website entitled "Video Link CJ To Judge Fixing Scandal" and "Transcript Of Lingam Conversation With Ahmad Fairuz".
When questioned by Salehuddin whether he had taken any action after reading the articles and transcript, Ahmad Fairuz said he had read the two documents repeatedly and on the following day, he had drafted a letter addressed to the prime minister, deputy prime minister and minister in the prime minister's department (Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz) to explain his views and position on the video clip.
"I chose to send a letter to the three individuals as they were members of the Executive Body where I, as head of the Judiciary, must inform the Executive Body on the allegations against me and what my stand was."
Ahmad Fairuz was later shown the letters he had sent to the prime minister, deputy prime minister and minister in the prime minister's department (all three letters carried the same contents and had the Malaysiakini articles and transcripts attached) which among others stated "Following is my explanation, I had never talked to "V.K Lingam".
Replying to Salehuddin's question why he wrote the name Lingam within inverted commas, Ahmad Fairuz said it was because he was not sure who was talking on the telephone in the video clip and he could not see clearly (the person in the video clip) at that time.
"In my explanation, I had also stated that I had never made such conversation. The contents in the transcript of the conversation were allegations that Lingam was talking to me on the topic, and I'm saying that they were all untrue.
"The recording of the conversation in the video clip was merely a monologue because my voice was not heard in the conversation and only Lingam's voice was heard," he said.
Ahmad Fairuz said that in his explanation in the letter, he said there were no indications that could link him to the video clip because his name was not mentioned as the other party speaking to Lingam on the telephone.
Asked by Salehuddin whether it had occurred to him to lodge a police report or to take legal action for slander, Ahmad Fairuz said: "I had never thought of doing so because the Malaysiakini article had already mentioned that there was a party (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) which would lodge a report with the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) and also lodge a complaint with the Bar Council.
"In the newspapers published subsequently, no reference was made to my name but only that of Lingam who was reported to be conversing with a senior judge, therefore, if I were to lodge a police report, it would be misconstrued that I was the senior judge.
"I did not take any legal action for libel because I was not certain who was slandering me and that the ACA was also carrying out an investigation. So, it was not nice for me to take such action," he said. (Bernama)
***** Things are going on in the Royal Commission of Inquiry just as many expected it would. There would be denials by everybody and the former Chief Justice would scream "slander". The cunning and highly experienced Lingam would take exactly the stand he took that he was bragging and or inebriated and that in any case his house was a place where he could talk anything and everything he likes and it's none of anyone's business. Which is basically true.
At the end of the day, I feel that all those implicated in the video would be exonerated. The chap who took the video might come in for harsh words from the Commissioners though. Let's wait and see.
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Labels: Legal Matters. Scandal