RCI on judicial misconduct not finalised yet, says Dr M

Dr Mahathir Mohamad arriving for the National Finance Council meeting at the finance ministry in Putrajaya today. On his left is Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

PUTRAJAYA: The government has yet to finalise the details of the proposed royal commission of inquiry (RCI) on judicial misconduct, Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

“I will inform you later. At the moment, we haven’t finalised everything,” the prime minister said after chairing a meeting of the National Finance Council at the finance ministry here.

This comes three months after Mahathir said the Cabinet had approved the RCI, following a damning affidavit by a sitting judge that outlined alleged misconduct by several unidentified judges.

Last week, lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla, who has been outspoken on the issue of judges’ misconduct, asked whether the attorney-general (AG) had done his work in advising the government and drafted the terms of reference on setting up the RCI.

De facto law minister Liew Vui Keong also told FMT the matter rested with the attorney-general.

However, AG Tommy Thomas responded by saying he was “not involved” in the proposed RCI and that it was being handled by the ministers concerned.

On Feb 14, Court of Appeal judge Hamid Sultan Abu Backer filed an explosive 65-page affidavit outlining the alleged judicial misconduct.

The document was filed in support of lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo’s court application seeking a declaration that then chief justice Richard Malanjum had failed in his duty to complete investigations into two widely publicised cases of judicial interference.

Supporting an RCI on the matter, Hamid said the demand for an inquiry was made on Sangeet’s request and that he had done so in accordance with the oath of office he had taken to uphold the Federal Constitution.

Sangeet had filed a police report after Haniff revealed that there was interference in the late Karpal Singh’s sedition appeal in the Court of Appeal.

Sangeet, who is Karpal’s daughter, said that as an interested party, she was adversely affected and entitled to all information and findings conducted by the judiciary.

In his affidavit, Hamid said that at an international law conference in Kuala Lumpur last year, he was chided by a top judge, in the presence of other judges, for delivering a dissenting judgment in the Indira Gandhi unilateral conversion case.

Since then, several bodies including the Malaysian Bar, Sabah Law Society, Advocates Association of Sarawak, National Patriots Association, Reform Caucus for Parliament, Lawyers for Liberty and Bersih 2.0 have asked for the RCI to be speeded up.