Monday, January 14, 2008

The Lingam Whistle-Blower?

What an unexpected twist in the ongoing Malaysian judiciary hanky panky scandal. Here's the story, without further comments from me, with the extract from Malaysiakini-the online news portal that provides news mainstream media has left out.

Video-clip man worries about his safety
K Kabilan & Steven Gan | Jan 12, 08 11:41pm

Businessman Loh Mui Fah, 58, today claimed that he was worried for his personal safety over his role in the Lingam tape scandal.

In an exclusive interview with Malaysiakini today, Loh admitted that his son, Jwo Burne, had recorded lawyer VK Lingam’s telephone conversation with former chief justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim on the night of Dec 20, 2001.

Loh added he and his son had went to Lingam’s house for dinner and to consult him on some legal matters.

Explaining further the harassments he had faced since the grainy 14-minute video clip was made public by opposition party PKR last year, Loh said that officers from the Anti-Corruption Agency had been tailing him day and night.

ACA officers had once intercepted him while he was on his way to Singapore, and also visited his office and home simultaneously where they threatened to ‘take away’ Loh’s youngest son.

“I have also received threatening telephone calls... asking me to watch out and that they will finish me,” said the businessman, who was also coy on his business venture apart from saying that it involved IT and forestry.

Loh said that he had written to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Nov 5, saying that he was willing to assist in the investigations into the Lingam tape should there be an assurance that “his safety would be guaranteed”. [see letter below]

“But nothing happened. I have had no reply from the prime minister,” he lamented.

Loh added that he had also emailed the three-member panel formed by the government to look into the authenticity of the Lingam tape, offering to assist in their probe. Again, he added, he had not heard from them.

Tailed day and night

Last month, the ACA ‘harassment’ and threatening phone calls became so unbearable and that Loh said he lodged at least one police report.

“The intrusion into my private life was bad,” he told Malaysiakini when met at his lawyer’s plush apartment in the heart of the city.

“They hunted me day and night. They came in cars, waited for me with engines running, waiting until midnight. The security guards at my apartment can vouch for this,” he said.

“Once the ACA visited my house and my office at the same time. When they found that I wasn’t there, they harassed my youngest son and threatened to take him away,” he said.

Loh said that once while he was travelling by car to Singapore, he was intercepted in Malacca by two ACA officers.

“They wanted me to immediately return with them to their headquarters in Putrajaya to take a statement from me. I told them I will not follow them and got them to let me talk to their superior,” he said.

“I told them I can cooperate but it must be properly done, and that I am given proper notice,” he added.

According to Loh, he did not know how the ACA knew that he was involved in the matter.

“Maybe Lingam had told them that I and my son were at his house on that day,” he speculated.

Plan to catch him unprepared

Loh suggested that the agency was perhaps badgering him to give a statement as they wanted to catch him unprepared instead of having him come with a prepared statement.

The businessman said that he feared for his life. “That is why I am going public now,” he said.

“I wrote to the PM seeking protection but I didn’t receive any assurance from him. Do I fear for my life? I won’t take anything for granted,” he said.

“Going public is the best option that I have.”

Loh also said that he was willing to appear before the royal commission which will kick off its inquiry on Monday to probe the Lingam tape.

“I will go before them in the interest of the public, but it is up to them to find their own answer,” he added.

The royal commission, formed after the panel tasked to probe the clip’s authenticity ended up empty-handed, is to further investigate the matter.

No comments: