Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Lingam Tape Transcript

Here's a look back at the widely publicised Lingam tape transcript. A big thanks goes to Malaysiakini for the transcript in its news portal.

Transcript of Lingam’s conversation with Ahmad Fairuz
Sep 19, 07 5:39pm
Below is a transcript of the conversation by senior lawyer VK Lingam in his telephone conversation purportedly with Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, as recorded in an eight-minute video clip.

The CJ (Chief Justice - judiciary's No 1 post) said his relative is now the Agong, so he wants to stay on to 68, so, Tengku Adnan said - I told Tengku Adnan, yesterday I had a meeting with him - he said PM is already very angry with him … and … he said no problem, he is going to make you acting err... confirm your position as PCA (President of Court of Appeal – judiciary’s No 2), working very hard, and then get Tan Sri Mokhtar as CJM (Chief Judge of Malaya – judiciary’s No 3).

Ah, so we just keep it confidential. I am working very hard on it. Then there is a letter, according to Tengku - I am going to see him tomorrow - there is a letter sent to … ah … CJ - I mean Tan Sri Dzaiddin - that Datuk Heliliah, …er Datuk Ramli and Datuk Ma’roop be made judges, and he rejected that Dr Andrew Chui and apa itu Zainuddin Ismail lah because Zainuddin Ismail who condemned your appointment and Tan Sri Mokhtar’s appointment.

And then you also, it seems, wrote a letter for the remaining … confirmed as judges. As per our memo, I discussed with Tun Eusoff Chin and we sent the same memo to PM. I just want to get a copy letter that this has been done.

And then Tan Sri Dzaiddin said he is going to recommend six people for the Court of Appeal, but until today the letter hasn’t come to PM. He never discussed, but neither he has sent the letter to PM. He has not sent. So, I know it is under the constitution, for judges all, that is your job, Datuk, to send, but we don’t want to make it an issue now.

Ah, okay. Actually I told Tengku Adnan to inform PM, PM to call you for a meeting. But I will organise this so that Tengku Adnan will call you directly. And then I got your number, I will tell him to call you directly to for you to meet PM lah. Ah… So should be okay, then ar… correct, correct, it is very important that the key players must be there.

Correct, correct, correct. Correct, correct. You know that the same problem that Tun Eusoff Chin had. He tried to do all this and yet he has run out of soldiers. He couldn’t do it because many were from the other camp. Last time was unfortunate because Tun Daim was doing everything sabotaging, you know lah…

Otherwise how are things with you - everything is okay? No, don’t worry. You know sometimes Tan Sri Vincent said that half the time we are talking about judiciary rather than doing the work. But if I don’t do this part, my work will be useless. Ha! Ha! Ha!

Ah, yes. Correct, correct, correct, correct, correct. Right, right, right. Correct. Ah. Ah. Right! Susah. You see he has now asked for six Court of Appeal judges, so that he can put his men before he retires.

Correct, correct, correct, ah, and then, ah, ah, correct, correct, correct, correct, correct.

Ah, never mind, I will do this, I will get er… Tengku Adnan to arrange for PM to call you and Tan Sri Vincent Tan for PM to call. You know why, actually, I am very grateful to Tan Sri Vincent Tan, You know why? I brainwashed him so much I even quarreled with him.

One day I went to Vincent Tan’s house, I fired him at night in his house. I said bloody hell, if you don’t do this who will do it? All these people, Tun Eusoff Chin, Datuk Ahmad Fairuz, Tan Sri Zainal all fought for …that. Then he called Tengku Adnan. Tengku Adnan he said, saya bukan Perdana Menteri Malaysia lah, you know. If the old man doesn’t want to listen to me, go to hell.

He quarreled with me. I said never mind, never mind, Tan Sri, you talk to PM again tomorrow morning to put Datuk Ahmad Fairuz to CJM. So next day morning he went and he called me back 9.30 that he said PM has already agreed. So I said never mind, we hope for the best. So I said no harm trying, the worst that it can happen is you lose.

Being the old man, he is 76 years old, he gets whispers everywhere, and then you don’t whisper, he get taken away by the other side. But, now the PM is very alert because every time he gets letters from Tan Sri Dzaiddin, he calls Tengku Adnan, he says discuss with Vincent, come and discuss. And…

Yes, yes, ya. Correct, correct. Ya, but you see although I know PM, but my views … I am a lawyer in practice… my views are… I go through them, I go through them lah.

Ah. Ah. Ah. Ah.

And then Dzaiddin will go and tell them you went and saw PM and make a big issue out of it. Oh ya, I think so, I think so.

Okay, fine, fine, fine, fine. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Right, okay, okay. Ah. Ah. Correct, correct.

Now I heard Raja Aziz, Raja Aziz ah, two weeks ago spoke to my lawyer Thayalan, and another lawyer Anad, in the High Court - they have a case with each other. So, Thayalan and Anad asked Raja Aziz, how is Tan Sri Wan Adnan?

He said he is on his way down. But you know what is the shocking thing he said? Datuk Fairuz became CJM. He overruled everybody, in three months time, he is going to be PCA, and six months time, he is going to be CJ. He said I can’t take this shock. He told lah. Ha!

It seems ah that they are going to organise a campaign … they are going to organise a campaign to run you down. But you just keep quiet - don’t say anything. Don’t … even the press ask, you said I leave it to God, that’s all. Don’t say. I really like your message. You said I work very hard, what can I do? I leave it to God. That’s the best answer, Datuk, that you can ever give. Ah.

Yes… I will also get Tan Sri to remind PM to put a Tan Sri ship this year lah. You know, this will elevate you, you know.

Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes. Ah. Steve Shim got so fast, Tan Sri Chong waited for a whole year to get Tan Sriship.

Ah. My God, that’s why, ah. Correct, correct, correct, correct, ya, ya, ya, ya, right, right, right, correct, correct.

Don’t worry, we organise this. And if Tan Sri Vincent and Tengku Adnan want to meet you privately, they will, I will call you. We organise a private arrangement, in a very neutral place.

No, don’t worry, Datuk, I know how much you suffered for Tun Eusoff Chin. And Tun said Datuk Ahmad Fairuz 110 percent loyalty. We want to make sure our friends are there for the sake of PM and for the sake of the country. Not for our own interest, not for our own interest. We want to make sure the country comes out well.

Well, you suffered so much, so much you have done - for the election petition, Wee Choo Keong, everything. How much, nobody would have done all these.

Yes, you know. Ah. Good lah. You don’t worry. I am constantly working on this. I…

Ya, ya, don’t worry, don’t worry. We work hard on this er Datuk. And if Tan Sri Vincent and Tengku want to see you, I will organise it in a confidential place.

Okay, Datuk, all the very best. God bless you and your family.

Okay. Thank you, thank you. Bye-bye, bye-bye.

Note: Given that parts of the video are slightly inaudible, this transcript may not be entirely accurate.

News report: Video links CJ to 'judicial fixing' scandal

Background to the Lingam tape

The grainy eight-minute video footage was taken in 2002 at senior lawyer VK Lingam’s Kelana Jaya house. At that time, Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah was chief justice. Appointed in 2000, he was seen as a fresh break from his two previous predecessors - Mohd Eusoff Chin (1994-2000) and Abdul Hamid Omar (1988-1994).

Dzaiddin was to retire in 2003, and the video showed Lingam expressing concerned that the outgoing CJ was moving his ‘men’ into top judiciary posts. The conversation revolved around the urgent need to get Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, then chief judge of Malaya - the judiciary’s No 3 - appointed as Court of Appeal president (No 2) and then chief justice (No 1). There was also the plan to get former attorney-general Mokhtar Abdullah, who was then a Federal Court judge, to replace Ahmad Fairuz as No 3.

To do that, Lingam had roped in tycoon Vincent Tan, a close crony of then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, a key minister in PM’s Department. They were to talk to Mahathir on the appointment of judges.


Ahmad Fairuz was appointeded Court of Appeal president in December 2002 - months after the telephone conversation. Dzaiddin stepped down as CJ in 2003 and he was replaced by Ahmad Fairuz. Mokhtar, however, could not take the No 3 post as he was in coma after suffering from a fall in August 2002. He died in 2003. Ahmad Fairuz' term as CJ will end in October 2007.

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