Bar repeats call for RCI into judicial misconduct

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Bar has urged Putrajaya to set up a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) to investigate allegations of judicial interference and misconduct without further delay.

Bar president Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor said more than 50 days had passed since Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced on Feb 21 that the government would do this.

“Since then, there has been to our knowledge no news regarding the implementation of that decision. The RCI’s composition and terms of reference have yet to be announced,” he said in a statement.

Fareed also urged the government to recommend holistic reforms that would strengthen the judiciary.

Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor.

He said the Bar had repeatedly called for an RCI since last August, when Court of Appeal judge Hamid Sultan Abu Backer made the claims of judicial impropriety at a law conference.

Hamid also filed a 65-page affidavit in support of a suit brought by lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo against anyone holding the position of chief justice, for failing to defend and preserve the integrity of the judiciary.

Sangeet filed the action following reports of judicial interference in the sedition appeal of her father, the late Karpal Singh, before the Court of Appeal in 2016.

Hamid alleged in the affidavit that senior judges had intervened in the decision on numerous appeals including in Karpal’s matter and the unilateral conversion case brought by kindergarten teacher M Indira Gandhi.

He also claimed some judges had abetted in scams carried out by nominees of politicians who had entered into contracts with the government.

He alleged that once the government pulled out of a deal, the private parties would take the government to court to claim compensation.

Lawyer Arunachalam Kasi, better known as Arun Kasi, also made allegations in two articles published on the Aliran website: “How a dissenting judgment sparked a major judicial crisis”, published on Feb 16, and “Tommy Thomas must look into arbitration centre that sparked the judicial crisis”, published on Feb 22.

He has been cited for contempt of court and the Federal Court will make a ruling on April 23.