No need for RCI to cover PH’s time, says Warisan leader

Terrence Siambun (left) has reminded former DAP vice-chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim that various former chief justices have played key roles in politics after their retirement.

PETALING JAYA: A Warisan leader has dismissed Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim’s call for a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) into allegations of judicial misconduct to extend its scope to the time Pakatan Harapan (PH) was in power.

Aziz, a former vice-chairman of DAP, yesterday said the RCI should include a review of the appointments of judges as well as judicial decisions throughout the 22 months of PH’s administration as he had “serious doubts” about the judiciary’s independence due to former chief justice Richard Malanjum’s open support for Warisan Plus in the Sabah polls.

Warisan treasurer-general Terrence Siambun said it was wrong for Aziz, a former DAP vice-chairman, to infer Malanjum might have made biased judgments favouring PH when he was in office just because of his support for Warisan Plus, pointing out that other chief justices had also played key roles in politics after their retirement.

“Every individual in Malaysia has the right to support any registered political party. In the case of Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, he is now enjoying his retirement and taking full pleasure in supporting any party that he likes; be it Perikatan Nasional, Barisan Nasional or even Warisan Plus,” said Siambun in a statement today.

“In fact, there have been several instances of former chief justices who took active part in politics right after they retired such as the former lord president Tun Salleh Abas who stood as a candidate for Semangat 46 in 1995 and for PAS in 1999,” he added.

Siambun said while former chief justice Abdul Hamid Mohammad did not contest any elections, his statements reflected his pro-Islam stance on many issues.

The Warisan leader also questioned Aziz’s timing and motive, and described the call to set up the RCI on judicial misconduct during the PH era as “baseless, unfounded and politically motivated”.

Siambun said Malanjum did not sit alone in any of the Federal Court panels to hear constitutional and other cases of public interest, stating that Malanjum instead introduced reforms which were praised by legal circles, political leaders and the general public.

“Among the most significant reforms is the empanelling of seven judges to hear cases of public interest and a panel of nine judges for matters of constitutional importance but this was conveniently left out by Aziz.

“So how would a bench containing seven or nine judges in the PH era lead to judicial misconduct as Aziz has alleged?” he asked.

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 an 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.