Probe into alleged judicial misconduct can go on despite lawsuit, says Liew

De facto law minister Liew Vui Keong.

KOTA KINABALU: De facto law minister Liew Vui Keong said the police and anti-graft busters can continue investigating allegations of judicial misconduct despite a lawsuit to stop the government from setting up a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) on the issue.

Liew said their investigations can go on while the courts decide the outcome of the originating summons filed by former Sabah chief minister Yong Teck Lee.

“I have been made to understand the case management will be held after Hari Raya. The court will fix the hearing for the case.

“So, we will have to see the merits of the case because there is this allegation that the setting up of the RCI on misconduct of judges is unconstitutional and there is also a conflict of interest, among other things.

“At this moment, while this (RCI) is still on hold, the investigation by the police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) can still go on … no problem on that,” he told reporters in Sandakan today.

Yong initiated the legal action in late April to stop the government from setting up the RCI to investigate allegations of judicial interference and misconduct.

He filed the originating summons at the High Court here to seek a declaration that the decision by the federal government to set up the RCI is unconstitutional and in breach of the principle of separation of powers.

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

Hamid alleged that senior judges had intervened in the decision of numerous appeals and abetted in scams carried out by nominees of politicians who had entered into contracts with the government.

No need for another RCI on illegal immigrants

Liew, who is also the Batu Sapi MP, dismissed the call by Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) for another RCI on illegal immigrants in the state, saying an inquiry had already been carried out and its report published.

He said key witnesses had been called to testify at the previous RCI, adding that it was chaired by former chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak Steve Shim. The technical committee was chaired by former deputy chief minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

“We do not know what happened to that report but I think a second RCI is not practical and not necessary.

“Maybe we can use the recommendations from that report. I hope it can be shared with the government so that we can debate it in Parliament or the state assembly,” he said.

PBS recently demanded a follow-up investigation on the issuance of documents to illegal immigrants, especially with what it described as new evidence surfacing.

Its president, Maximus Ongkili, also said it was time to find a permanent solution to the long-standing problem of illegal immigrants.

The RCI began its hearing on Jan 14, 2013, and a report was published after nine months. More than 200 witnesses, including Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, testified.