Business as usual for courts during RCI probe, says AG

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas.

PUTRAJAYA: All court cases will proceed as usual when the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) carries out its probe on alleged misconduct in the judiciary, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said today.

“All cases at all levels of our superior and subordinate courts can continue to be heard and determined by them,” he said in a statement.

His clarification came following the government’s decision to form an RCI to probe accusations made by a Court of Appeal judge.

Thomas said no cases will be postponed without a reason during the RCI probe.

He said judges will decide whether any postponement is necessary, as normal.

“The establishment of an RCI does not mean that an automatic or blanket postponement of all cases will follow,” Thomas said.

The AG said the current scrutiny by the government was not the first in judicial history.

In 1988, two tribunals were set up under Article 125 of the Federal Constitution to inquire into allegations of judicial misconduct against six Supreme Court judges.

In 2007, an RCI was set up in the VK Lingam case to probe allegations of intervention in the judicial appointment process by some Malaysian judges.

In all these precedents, Thomas said, all court proceedings went on as usual and no adjournment was entertained by the courts.

Earlier, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad confirmed that a RCI will be set up on the matter.

Thomas hoped public speculation would cease now as the RCI would be established shortly to begin its deliberations.

“The RCI must be permitted to discharge its important duties in a calm and measured way.”

A source told FMT yesterday that the AG would be asked to draft the terms of reference and recommend the composition of the RCI.

On Feb 14, Court of Appeal Judge Hamid Sultan Abu Backer  filed an explosive 65-page affidavit outlining the alleged misconduct by unidentified judges.