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Lingam tape to be 'hot topic' in law confab Print E-mail
Saturday, 27 October 2007

by Beh Lih Yi

A special session on the explosive ‘Lingam tape’ that has ignited an uproar in the legal fraternity will be featured at the three-day 14th Malaysian Law Conference beginning Monday.

The video clip, showing a senior lawyer brokering judicial appointment allegedly with a top judge, will be shown before more than 600 people who have registered for the conference.

The conference organising chair Roger Tan said the session titled ‘What’s next after the Lingam tape?’ will be featured on the final day of the event and to gather views from the participants.

“We will want more participation from the floor and audience (than the speakers) in that session,” Tan, a Bar Council member, told Malaysiakini.

Perak Sultan, PM to attend

More than 2,000 lawyers took part in an unprecedented 3.5km march on Sept 26 to call on the government to form a royal commission of inquiry to probe issues raised in the clip.

Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim was alleged to be on the other end of the phone conversation with lawyer VK Lingam shown in the 2002 clip.

Ahmad Fairuz, due to retire on Nov 1 but has since sought an extension of his service, has denied his involvement through a cabinet minister. He was the chief judge of Malaya in 2002.

The biennial law conference came at an interesting point for the judiciary, where from the royalties to the rank-and-file in society have expressed their concern on the judiciary’s integrity that was put under question, especially after the clip’s emergence.

“We consider (more than 600 participants) as a record in recent years,” said Tan on the people who have registered so far and attributed this to the “topical issues” to be discussed at the event.

Lawyers are said to be anxiously looking forward to the opening address from one of the most senior Rulers, the outspoken Perak Sultan, Sultan Azlan Shah who will officiate the conference.

The former lord president will deliver an address on the ‘50 years of Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law’.

Lawyers also wonder whether any announcement on the chief justice’s tenure will be made by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who will deliver a keynote address on the same day.

The three-day conference is scheduled to be closed by de facto law minister Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, who has launched his salvo against the lawyers and branded them as “crazy” over the ‘Lingam tape’ controversy.

Wide range of topics

Other speakers include prominent practitioners both domestically and international, as well as academicians, journalists, professionals and those from non-governmental organisations.

A comprehensive selection of topics will be covered at the conference - from the Federal Constitution, the country’s legal system after 50 years, the rights of the stateless and indigenous people, freedom of expression in arts, freedom of information to the role of Asean in Burma.

There will also be a special address from Inspector General-of-Police Musa Hassan on ‘200 years of police and 50 years of independence - the Royal Malaysian Police experience’.

Despite the wide range of topics, Tan said the conference will zoom into various issues related to the Federal Constitution and its development 50 years after Independence.

“The emphasis will be on the Federal Constitution, the basic law of the land. It is something that we would like to examine,” he stressed.

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