I suppose that I am the only blogger besides my other two friends (a lawyer and a reporter) to cover a one day of the Lingamtape public inquiry held at the KL Court Complex today.
From sayings with some people I knew, I was told that in order to get into the room, you need to be among the first 15 in order to gain this 'public pass'. Due to the room space there, being limited, only 20 passes were available. The rest, 40 for media and an unspecified amount for 'lawyer observers' , those who are specified in the list prepared by the BAR Council. So I was at the courthouse since 7 a.m and managed to be among the first 10.
I thought that the guest today would be Anwar Ibrahim himself, but due to his schedule, the testimony was instead delivered by former CJM, Eusoff Chin. Today's session lasted only until at noon since today there was a Friday prayers and judging from things, there would not be much to be discusses because of time constraints.
How does the room look like?
I understand that not many people could go in and there isn't a video feed to help people tune in into the inquiry. The room consists of 12 benches for reporters and the public. Each bench can fill in 4 people and it is arranged in a 3 X 4. Four rows, 3 benches. Some extra chairs are included to fill up the number of 60 non-court personnel. For security reasons, no cameras are allowed into the room.
After the benches, a small paddock separates between the BAR Council lawyers and observers (yellow pass) guys with police personnel and the DPP, as well as the court personnel. On the far end there is a stage where the five members of the commission preside.
Day's Trial in Points:
I suppose that Malaysiakini or any other mainstream media has the coverage on today's session.
Below are the points mentioned. I just leave it for you to check both versions, mine and theirs especially, if for some reason feel that the paper report is missing some details or whatsoever. If you really want an 'things mentioned live and on the spot' well, here it is.
Session kicked off at 10 a.m, with Wee making a request on behalf of Balan, Lingam's brother.
1. Balan wants to testify and applies for permission. It will be decided.
2. Balan made several reports to the police and ACA and they were ignored. One of the reports were also referenced in one of Rocky's post last November.
3. Wee is making an inference that there is a degree of closeness between Eusoff and Lingam.
4. Wee showed to the court a larger photo of Lingam and Eusoff in Queenstown, New Zealand.
5. Mahadev suggested that Wee should make the application after Eusoff finishes his testimony.
He thinks that the timing was premature and feels that the application and inference by Wee would make the application meaningless if Eusoff denies everything.
Eusoff came in later.
1. He could not recognize the person on video (it was played) as it was blur but did say that the voice sounds like Lingam.
2. The relationship is a professional judge-lawyer, not to the extent of closeness.
3. He doesn't even know Berjaya's Vincent Tan.
4. On most of the extracts of the transcripts (marked by yellow highlights) asked by the DPP and Ranjit Singh, he claimed he doesn't know the meaning of the lines. Such as 'Pom..pom.pom' and 'Dzaiddin hating Eusoff.' - he denies of the claim. And he said that most do not involve him because he retired at the time of the video was shot. December 20 2001. He retired in 2000.
5. The BAR had a copies of the New Zealand trip planner (written by Eusoff's secretary) from December 22 to 30 1994. It details of the flights from Singapore to Christchurch then to Queenstown and Auckland.
6. Eusoff confirms that Lingam was tagging along during the New Zealand period. He met Lingam in Changi. The trip to Queenstown back and forth was by a chartered van holding nine persons excluding the driver.
7. Ranjit mentions that the ninth person on the trip, when later I found out he was Vincent Tan's personal bodyguard.
8. Eusoff offers to make a submission but was advised to have a counsel by Mahadev. He agreed and a submission would be arranged at a later date.
The main question that baffles is that how does Lingam know of Eusoff's personal plans on the trip? The trip was no coincidence as they were in the same flights from Singapore and back forth.
Smaller copies of the photo were given to the lawyers and commissioners. The same one that Wee has.
I happened to meet a Keadilan guy, Pushpalingam, infamously knows most Special Branch officers and policemen in KL and was among the 145 arrested at the National Mosque in protesting the case where Anwar was poisoned at the prison 10 years ago. I didn't say much but listening to his views and things related 10 years ago with the inquiry.
While having a drink with a cameraman and Pushpa, I saw Balan on a table ahead. He was there. He gave info to the reporters. He came here in case he was needed immediately for testimony.
It's nice to come but if you want, come by 7 a.m to get your seat.