What happened to probe on judicial misconduct, asks Karpal’s daughter

Lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo.

KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo has questioned the Cabinet and the chief justice (CJ) on why there is no investigation into a senior judge’s claim of misconduct and corruption in the judiciary.

“I am questioning why there is a silence. What has happened to this issue?

“Why is everybody keeping quiet when the stakeholders should stand up and ask for an investigation?” she told reporters after attending a court proceeding here.

Sangeet, who is the daughter of the late Karpal Singh, said she wrote to CJ Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat about an internal inquiry following judge Hamid Sultan Abu Backer’s revelation in an affidavit.

“Since the CJ is an interested party, the matter was referred to the Court of Appeal president (Ahmad Maarof), who is the second in line in the judicial ladder.

“I will be writing to Ahmad soon,” she said.

(Tengku Maimun was one of the three judges in the Court of Appeal which heard Karpal’s sedition appeal in 2016.)

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced on Feb 21 that a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) would be held to investigate Hamid’s explosive affidavit that consisted of 152 paragraphs.

However, since then there has been no announcement on the terms of reference of the RCI.

Hamid, at an international law conference on Aug 16 last year, had revealed that he was reprimanded by a top judge for delivering a dissenting judgment in a widely-followed unilateral conversion case in 2016.

However, he did not reveal the identity of the judge.

A week later (Aug 22), lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla told FMT he was recently informed that a judge reportedly also meddled in the majority decision in Karpal’s sedition appeal.

Following this, Sangeet lodged a police report and urged Tengku Maimun’s predecessor, Richard Malanjum, to institute a domestic inquiry.

Malanjum then said a probe could not be carried out as the three Court of Appeal judges, who heard Karpal’s appeal were still serving and a police probe was on-going.

Sangeet, in January, filed a suit against the CJ, seeking a court declaration that the top judge failed in his duty to preserve and protect the integrity of the judiciary.

Hamid then filed his explosive affidavit on Feb 14 in support of Sangeet’s suit against the CJ.

In the widely-viralled document, he repeated the allegation made at the law conference and the allegation by Haniff. He also made claims of corrupt practices by some judges.

The CJ (Malanjum) then applied to expunge Hamid’s affidavit.

Meanwhile, judge Mohd Firuz Jaffril will decide on Oct 22 whether to allow the CJ’s application to remove 144 paragraphs in Hamid’s affidavit.

Federal counsel S Narkunavathy submitted today that the allegation about Karpal’s case by Hamid was hearsay evidence.

“Hamid had no personal knowledge about the matter,” she said.

Narkunavathy said Hamid’s mention about the M Indira Gandhi conversion case had no relevance to Sangeet’s suit.

Lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, who represented Sangeet, said the CJ’s application to remove almost all the contents in the affidavit was academic.

“My client has given notice to the court that she is going to withdraw her suit against the CJ,” Malik said.

On March 29, a five-man Federal Court bench acquitted Karpal Singh of the sedition charge, allegedly committed 10 years ago, due to a serious misdirection by the High Court and Court of Appeal.

Lawyer Joy Wilson Appukuttan held a watching brief for Hamid.