RCI on judicial misconduct should also cover PH’s time, says ex-DAP man

Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim says retired chief justice Richard Malanjum’s open support for Warisan raised ‘serious doubts’ about the judiciary’s independence. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim, a former vice-chairman of Transparency International’s board of directors, said today any royal commission of inquiry (RCI) into allegations of judicial misconduct should extend its scope to the time Pakatan Harapan (PH) was in power.

Aziz, who was once also DAP vice-chairman, said this should include a review of the appointments of judges as well as judicial decisions throughout the 22 months of PH’s reign.

This, he said, was because former chief justice Richard Malanjum had openly supported Warisan Plus in the Sabah polls.

Abdul Aziz, who helped found Transparency International Malaysia, said this raised “serious doubts” about the judiciary’s independence.

“Many of us who put great store in the independence of the judiciary may be forgiven for fearing that all is not well with the administration of our criminal justice system. The paramount importance of an independent judiciary cannot be overemphasised.

“If our citizens cannot expect justice in their law courts, where do they seek it?” he said in a Facebook post today.

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) recently called for the speedy formation of a RCI into allegations of judicial misconduct in an affidavit filed by Court of Appeal judge Hamid Sultan Abu Backer in 2019.

Suhakam said Putrajaya had announced in February 2019 it would form a RCI, but there had been no developments until now on the inquiry or its investigation into the allegations.

This came after Hamid reportedly sent an “explosive” response to a show-cause notice for affirming an affidavit that senior judges had intervened in the decisions of numerous appeals, including the late Karpal Singh’s sedition case.

Sources told FMT it was believed the senior judge, who is scheduled to retire next year, stood by the entire content of the affidavit and also a 101-page judgment he delivered in early June.

It is the first time that a show-cause notice has been issued to a judge since a code of ethics was drawn up in 2009.