Karpal’s daughter lodges police report on alleged judicial interference

Sangeet Kaur Deo says police must conduct investigations as soon as possible.

PETALING JAYA: The late Karpal Singh’s daughter has lodged a police report following a claim by a lawyer that the decision on the veteran politician’s sedition appeal two years ago was altered due to judicial interference.

Sangeet Kaur Deo said she made the report at the Dang Wangi police district headquarters this morning, following a report in FMT yesterday.

Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla was quoted by FMT as saying that he was recently informed that a senior judge had reportedly meddled in the majority decision to allow Karpal’s appeal and acquit him of the charge.

“The panel was asked to reverse the ruling,” the lawyer who usually appears for Dr Mahathir Mohamad in civil cases had said in a Facebook post.

Haniff did not reveal the identity of the judge but claimed that due to his interference, if correct, Karpal, who was a politician and senior member of the legislature, could not clear his name even after his death.

Sangeet, who is also a lawyer, said she made the report for police to investigate Haniff’s claim.

“This is a serious allegation and the police must conduct an investigation as soon as possible,” she said in the report.

Karpal was charged with sedition for saying the removal of Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as menteri besar by the late Perak Sultan, Sultan Azlan Shah, and the appointment of Zambry Abdul Kadir in his place, could be questioned in court.

On Feb 21, 2014, the High Court found Karpal guilty but he died in a road accident two months later.

On May 30, 2016, his conviction was upheld by the Court of Appeal.

The majority, consisting of justices Mohtarudin Baki and Kamardin Hashim, however, allowed the late Karpal’s appeal on his RM4,000 fine, reducing it to RM1,800.

This meant that Karpal’s widow, Gurmeet Kaur, could receive his pension benefits.

Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, however, ruled in favour of Karpal to set aside the conviction by the High Court.

Gurmeet, who is acting for Karpal’s estate, is appealing the conviction in the Federal Court.

Haniff’s claim comes after Court of Appeal judge Hamid Sultan Abu Backer told an international law conference on Aug 16 that he was “severely reprimanded” by a “top judge” for his dissenting judgment in the M Indira Gandhi unilateral conversion case.

Hamid said he was subsequently not assigned or empanelled to hear cases relating to the Federal Constitution and public interest matters.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikkhism and Taoism has called for the setting up of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to investigate the claim made by Hamid Sultan.

Earlier this week, the Malaysian Bar had also called for the establishment of a RCI, but to investigate serious assertions of judicial misconduct.

Malaysian Bar president George Varughese said the RCI must also recommend holistic reforms to improve and strengthen the judiciary.

Lawyer R Kengadharan said Parliament should enact a law to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate, among others, allegations of judicial misconduct.

“The commission must comprise retired judges who can interview sitting judges on such allegations and ways to improve the judicial system,” he said.

He said unlike the RCI, the commission would not recommend punitive action against those who had violated their judicial oath.

South Africa, under the late Nelson Mandela, set up such a commission after the end of apartheid.

Witnesses who were identified as victims of gross human rights violations were invited to give statements about their experiences while perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request amnesty from both civil and criminal prosecution.