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No leave to challenge findings on Lingam clip (Updated)

Updated 12 Dec 2008, 4.20pm

KUALA LUMPUR, 12 Dec 2008: The five individuals implicated in the controversial “Lingam video clip” failed in their bid to obtain leave from the High Court here to challenge the Royal Commission of Inquiry’s findings.

Justice Datuk Abdul Kadir Musa accepted the preliminary objection raised by senior federal counsel Azizah Nawawi, for the commission, that the findings were not reviewable because they were not a decision in the context of Order 53 Rule 2(4) of the Rules of the High Court.

The five-member panel of commissioners, in their report, had found the video clip showing senior lawyer Datuk VK Lingam in a telephone conversation with former chief justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim over judicial appointment to be authentic.

The commission also recommended that appropriate course of action be taken against six individuals — Lingam, tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and two former chief justices Ahmad Fairuz and Tun Mohd Eusoff Chin — for misconduct.

It found that there was sufficient evidence to investigate the six men for offences under the Sedition Act, Official Secrets Act, the Penal Code and the Legal Profession Act 1976.

Except for Mahathir, the other five filed for leave for a judicial review in an attempt to quash the inquiry’s finding.

The commissioners — chairperson Tan Sri Haidar Mohd Noor, former chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Amar Steve Shim Lip Kiong, retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mahadev Shankar, former solicitor-general Puan Sri Zaitun Zawiyah

Puteh and Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim— sat for 17 days to inquire into the 14-minute video clip.

Abdul Kadir also held that although it could not be denied that the five individuals were adversely affected in its natural sense by the commission’s findings, they were nevertheless not so adversely affected within the context of Order 53 Rule 2 (4) of the Rules of High Court.

He disagreed with their proposition that the commission’s findings were reviewable based on the New Zealand common law which construed “findings” as a decision within the ambit of Order 53.

The Malaysian courts should not import common law from other countries where the provisions of Malaysia’s laws were different, he said, adding that if one wanted to import the interpretation of New Zealand’s Judicature Amendment Act 1977 into Malaysian law, there must first be changes made to the Malaysian Acts.

Ahmad Fairuz and Eusoff Chin are appealing against the decision while the other three indicated that they may consider to appeal. — Bernama

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