RCI needed to clear names of clean judges, says Ambiga

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan has joined the call for a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) into allegations of judicial misconduct, saying this is needed to vindicate judges who have carried out their functions with integrity.

“I am for an inquiry, by way of an RCI or other inquiries, and it must dig deep. It must go into the past and ensure the future is better because at the end of the day, the judiciary is the life and blood of the nation,” she said at the Forsea Democracy Fest 2019 at Publika here yesterday.

She added that an inquiry is necessary to ensure that those who undermine the system are held accountable for their actions.

“There are many judges who do an honest day’s work and who carry out their judicial tasks with integrity,” she said, urging the authorities not to undermine the judicial institution while conducting the inquiry.

Ambiga, who is a former member of the Institutional Reforms Committee, also said there was a need to strengthen other key institutions within the government.

“I want strong institutions, so that it does not matter, or it matters less, who is in power because the institutions must operate to check all abuses of power,” she said.

Court of Appeal judge Hamid Sultan Abu Backer recently filed a 65-page affidavit, claiming that certain members of the judiciary were aiding private parties to defraud the government.

Hamid said the affidavit was in support of lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo’s suit against Chief Justice Richard Malanjum over two cases of alleged judicial interference.

According to the affidavit, the government would enter into contracts with political nominees and later renege on the deals. This would allow private parties to claim compensation, with the government recording a consent judgment accepting liability and agreeing to assess damages.