Malaysian Indian lawyer knew ‘official secrets’


Kuala Lumpur : Malaysian Indian lawyer V.K. Lingam, in the eye of a political storm for allegedly having access to official secrets about top level appointments made by the former Mahathir Mohamad government, has said he will personally depose before a Royal Commission of Inquiry.

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Lingam marked a surprise presence Wednesday before the royal probe body, so called because it was appointed last year by the royal head of the state. The Indian lawyer also submitted through his lawyer that he would explain his side personally.

Lingam has been identified as the man in video clips, seen talking on telephone, according to media reports.

There was a collective murmur as Lingam, dressed in a navy suit, a light blue shirt and a red-and-white striped tie, bowed low to the commissioners and smiled, The New Straits Times said Thursday.

The Royal Commission of Inquiry “was left wondering as to how the man in the clip knew official secrets privy only to the prime minister, chief justice and chief secretary to the government of that time”, the newspaper reported.

One of the commissioners, Mahadev Shankar, also an ethnic Indian, pointed out during the testimony of former chief secretary Samsudin Osman that the “man in the video” knew the details of a letter sent by the then prime minister Mahathir Mohamed to the then chief justice Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah regarding the nominations of high court judges.

Samsudin, the sixth witness in the inquiry, was testifying on the correspondence in late 2001 between himself, Mahathir and Dzaiddin on a list of proposed candidates for the appointments.

These correspondences, he said, were official secrets that even ministers and deputy ministers had no access to.

In his testimony, Samsudin said the names of two lawyers originally proposed by Dzaiddin were dropped along the way.

Shankar pointed out that the man having the telephonic conversation in the controversial video clip already knew about the matter.