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May 16, 2008

Media on the mat for leaking out report

malaysiainsider - [...] Police reports were today lodged against the Berita Harian, New Straits Times and The Star by the Prime Minister’s Department for breaching the Official Secrets Act and publishing excerpts of the report before the Cabinet ruled that it could be made public.

The Malaysian Insider has learnt that commission members, ministers and Umno politicians have been upset with several newspapers for breaking the embargo on the explosive report which confirmed what Malaysians long suspected – that the appointment of judges during the Mahathir era was manipulated by individuals close to the then prime minister.

Star, the country’s top-selling English daily, broke the first story – a day after commission members presented it to the King – and reported that the commission verified that lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam was speaking to former Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim on the telephone when he was captured on the tape. During the conversation, Lingam seemed to be brokering the appointment of judges.

The paper subsequently followed that exclusive with two other reports. These reports were picked up and translated by the Chinese language newspapers.

Today, the NST and Berita Harian on its front page said that the commission found that former deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tengku Adnan Mansor and businessman Tan Sri Vincent Tan had direct influence in the appointment and promotion of judges.

It also reported that the commission made observations on the evidence given by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and noted that the former PM had a "narrow interpretation" to the meaning of the word consultation in the appointment and promotion of judges.

The Malaysian Insider understands that the reports in the NST and BH provoked a strong reaction from some Umno members, who wanted to know why the party’s secretary-general was being shamed in Umno-owned publications even before the commission’s report had been discussed in Cabinet and made public. >> selanjutnya


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