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Speech by Lim Kit Siang at a DAP Kadazan-Dusun-Murut (KDM) Declaration convention held at Ruby Hotel, Kota Kinabalu on Saturday, 19th January 2008 at 2 pm


Sad and great ordeal for Malaysians  to see top national leaders like Mahathir and Eusoff Chin  competing with each other in selective amnesia at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Lingam Tape


The first five days of the public hearings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Videotape should have been the first step to restore national pride and confidence in the excellence and integrity of national institutions, in particular the independence, integrity and quality of the judiciary which in the past 19 years had plunged from international esteem to become a global laughing stock.


However, this was not to be, and the first five days of the Royal Police Commission hearings were painful days for national pride and honour.


It had been a sad and  a great ordeal to all Malaysians to see top national leaders like the longest-serving Prime Minister for 22 years, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and former Chief justice, Tun Eusuff Chin competing with each other in selective amnesia at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape.


A quick count showed that Mahathir said “I cannot remember” or its equivalent 14 times during his 90-minute  testimony before the Royal Commission on Wednesday while Eusuff Chin said “I cannot remember” or its equivalent 18 times in his half-testimony yesterday – with the former Chief Justice testimony adjourned to next week to allow him to seek legal representation and engage legal counsel!


Malaysians still do not believe that Mahathir has become so forgetful that he had to invoke the “I cannot remember” mantra 14 times in his short testimony especially as Mahathir is still famed for his poem, Melayu Muda Lupa. Is Mahathir proving himself right with his sudden forgetfulness?

As a commentator on my blog has pointed out, the Malaysian public is aghast as Mahathir’s testimony because of the public perception that Mahathir has an elephant memory (that an elephant never forgets), especially as Mahathir has a reputation for remembering details others could scantly recall as illustrated by his mastery to recall effortlessly details of Rafidah Aziz’s excesses in the AP scandal without any prodding.

Questions have legitimately been raised that  as Mahathir is still very   active in public life, who continues to speak on domestic and international circuits and highly respected for his analytical skills, how could his many lapses in memory in his appearance before the Royal Commission of Inquiry be credible and convincing?

Furthermore, Tun M is reputedly writing his memoirs presently which may take volumes. This is no task for a man with an amnesiac memory.

Before these and many other questions are answered, Malaysians were presented with another spectacle of a “pillar” of Malaysian society also subject to protracted bouts of memory loss, out-forgetting  Mahathir when the former Chief Justice was only half-way through his testimony.

Apart from his very questionable memory lapses, some of the things that he said raises question whether Eusoff Chin should have been appointed the  highest judicial officer of the country in the previous decade.

It must be a one-in-a-billion case of  coincidence for  Eusoff Chin when he was Chief Justice and senior lawyer V.K. Lingam and their families to get into the same flight from Singapore to Auckland, and then from Auckland to Christchurch, and to visit the same places in Auckland and Christchurch as well as return on the same flight.

Yesterday, Eusoff Chin said he “bumped” into Lingam in Singapore but in 2000, the former Chief Justice was on public record as saying that he had “bumped” into Lingam “on the way to a NZ zoo”.  Why the contradiction?

The Star report on Eusuff’s testimony at the Royal Commission of Inquiry yesterday, “’Normal to take pix with me’” said in para 3:

According to a 2000 news article tendered yesterday, the former Chief Justice had also reportedly said: “When the man puts his hand on your shoulder, you can't simply shove it aside.” 

However, anyone  looking at the photograph of Eusuff holidaying in New Zealand with Lingam (front page New Straits Times) will see that it was Eusoff who put his hand on Lingam’s shoulder instead of the other way round.

A lot of reputations are being destroyed at the Royal Commission of Inquiry public hearings, not by any probing questions by the commissioners or the lawyers, but by the missteps and refusal to come clean and true by the important witnesses.

* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman


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