A high-level Malaysian commission was set to begin hearing testimony today from top political and judicial figures in its investigation of a video that allegedly shows a prominent lawyer brokering the appointment of top judges.
Concerns surfaced about judicial corruption after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim released a video clip in September showing the lawyer talking on his mobile phone and identifying the person on the other end as a senior judge.
The video clip has become widely available on the Internet, but its authenticity has not been confirmed.
In the clip, the lawyer is heard speaking about how he helped the judge get appointed and discusses plans to elevate him further with the help of a business tycoon and a senior politician. A number of judges are also named during the conversation.
The lawyer, Anwar and other prominent Malaysian figures -- including former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad -- are expected to testify during the next two weeks before the commission, which was set up by the government to investigate the scandal.
Commission officials have not revealed the order in which witnesses will be called.
The panel, comprising former senior judges and legal experts, is expected to decide whether there is sufficient evidence of wrongdoing and to recommend an appropriate course of action.
Local media reports yesterday said a businessman has claimed his son was the person who secretly filmed the video.
Loh Mui Fah said in interviews with the New Straits Times newspaper and Malaysiakini, an independent news Web site, that he was visiting the lawyer's home in December 2001 when his son filmed the footage.
"I was not aware then that my son was recording [the lawyer's] telephone conversation," Loh told the Times. "My son, who is now overseas, confirmed that he was responsible."
Loh could not immediately be reached through his company.
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