Sun, Oct 07, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Man who taped lawyer fears for his safety: Anwar

PHONE CONVERSATION The lawyer allegedly talks about how he got a judge his job and intended to help him further with the aid of a senior politician


The man who recorded a video clip allegedly showing a well-connected Malaysian lawyer brokering the appointment of top judges is reluctant to reveal his identity because he fears for his safety, opposition politician Anwar Ibrahim said.

Anwar said in a statement late on Friday that officials from the government's Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) met him to try to determine the clip's authenticity, but Anwar declined to tell them who recorded it.

"I have informed the ACA that the person is prepared to issue a public statement, although he is fearful of his personal security," Anwar said. "We remain confident the truth will come out soon, and we will in no way compromise our sources."

Anwar has previously said he obtained the video from someone who secretly shot it at the lawyer's house in 2002. It shows the lawyer talking on his mobile phone and identifying the person on the other end as a senior judge.

The lawyer allegedly talks about how he helped get the judge appointed to his current post and discusses plans to elevate him further with the help of a tycoon and a senior politician.

A number of prominent judges are also named during the conversation.

Anwar, an adviser to the opposition People's Justice Party, said the government should establish a Royal Commission to uncover the truth.

The Bar Council, which represents 12,000 lawyers, has demanded action to restore confidence in the judiciary.

Judges are appointed by the king with the prime minister's recommendation.

The council has said an impartial commission should oversee the appointments.

The government recently appointed an independent panel to investigate the authenticity of the video.

However, activists say the panel lacks sufficient power and should expand its probe to look into the conduct of judges.

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