CJ explains why she can’t probe claim of judicial interference

Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat says police had investigated the alleged judicial interference but she did not know what transpired after that.

PUTRAJAYA: Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat said today she could not carry out the internal investigation into alleged judicial interference sought by lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo into Karpal Singh’s sedition appeal in 2016.

She said there was a conflict of interest as she had previously heard the then DAP chairman’s appeal when she was a Court of Appeal judge.

“She (Karpal’s daughter) did write to me about it. I told her that I can’t conduct investigations or pursue it and she understood it.

“I passed her letter to Ahmad Maarop (then Court of Appeal president) but he also had a conflict of interest as he had also been the judge in her father’s case previously,” Tengku Maimun said during a session with the media at her office.

Tengku Maimun had previously heard Karpal’s sedition appeal along with then Court of Appeal judge Mohtarudin Baki and a current Court of Appeal judge Kamardin Hashim.

In her minority decision, she allowed Karpal’s appeal against his conviction, adding that the prosecution had failed to prove the sedition charge.

Sangeet filed a suit against the chief justice, who was then Richard Malanjum, seeking a court declaration that the top judge had failed in his duty to preserve and protect the integrity of the judiciary.

The suit was filed after a senior judge in the Court of Appeal, Hamid Sultan Abu Backer, alleged that there had been interference by the judiciary in several high-profile cases, including Karpal’s sedition appeal.

The sedition suit was struck out by the High Court last year as the case had become academic. Karpal was finally acquitted by the Federal Court in March last year.

Sangeet had also filed an appeal against the High Court ruling and the court’s dismissal of Hamid’s affidavit filed for Sangeet’s lawsuit.

Tengku Maimun said an internal investigation was launched during the time of her predecessor (Malanjum) but it was suspended as the police were also investigating the same matter.

“The police had come and interviewed us. And the position taken by the top management then was to hold on to the investigation.

“We don’t know what happened to the police investigation or whether the investigation papers were ever submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chambers,” she added.

Previously, police had tried to take a statement from Hamid, but the judge was reported to have refused to give details.