MACC to meet judge who authored explosive affidavit

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will meet a Court of Appeal judge who affirmed an affidavit that allegedly revealed incidents of judicial interference, its deputy chief commissioner (operations) Azam Baki said.

“We want to get more information from the judge on the document since we are only relying on reports in the media,” he said.

Azam said his officers would interview the judge, Hamid Sultan Abu Backer, next week at a time and location convenient to him.

“We have not opened any investigation paper on the affidavit yet,” he told FMT.

Hamid affirmed a 65-page affidavit yesterday in support of legal action by lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo against alleged failure by Chief Justice Richard Malanjum to complete investigations into two cases of alleged judicial interference.

One is a sedition case against Sangeet’s father, the late Karpal Singh, while another was made by Hamid, who claimed he was chided by a top judge for delivering a dissenting judgment in the M Indira Gandhi unilateral conversion case.

Sangeet wants a declaration that the chief justice had failed in his duty to preserve and protect the integrity of the judiciary.

In a media statement last November, Malanjum had said the judiciary had to suspend investigations in Karpal’s case due to an ongoing police investigation and the pending appeal before the Federal Court.

He had said the probe into Karpal’s matter could also not be carried out as the three Court of Appeal judges were still serving.

Regarding the second case, Malanjum had said the investigation could not be carried out for alleged misconduct as the judge in question had retired.

Call for RCI to be set up

Meanwhile, lawyer Ramkarpal Singh said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad must heed calls to set up a royal commission of inquiry without any delay as the image and integrity of the entire judiciary is at stake.

“Judges are not gods. They are officers of the court bound by the strictest of ethical codes and must understand that they can be disciplined most severely for any breach,” said Ramkarpal, who is also MP for Bukit Gelugor.

He said the veracity of the contents of the said affidavit could not be ignored and must be investigated.

“I am sure it was not easy for Hamid to have done what he did. He must be commended for his courage in doing so,” he said in a statement.

However, lawyer A Srimurugan said the contents of Hamid’s affidavit were mere allegations and Malanjum must be given the opportunity to rebut them.

“One cannot presume the contents to be true. It is contempt,” he said, adding that it was unknown who was responsible for its wide circulation.

Srimurugan said the contents lacked facts and the vague allegations were also unrelated to the action filed by Sangeet.

He said the affidavit had the effect of scandalising the judiciary. The attorney-general, as guardian of public interest, must initiate contempt proceedings, he added.