PETALING JAYA: The government should investigate claims of judicial tampering in high-profile cases as alleged by a retired judge, a lawyer said.
Bastian Pius Vendargon said a number of revelations and complaints had surfaced over the years.
“It is hoped that an independent, objective and fearless panel will be appointed to deal with the administration of justice,” he told FMT.
The senior lawyer was responding to the Cabinet’s decision to have a royal commission of inquiry look into the claims made in former attorney-general Tommy Thomas’ controversial memoir.
Law minister Azalina Othman Said said the RCI was to determine the truth and submit recommendations to the government to reform the legal institutions.
In August 2018, former Court of Appeal judge Hamid Sultan Abu Backer revealed that he had been reprimanded by a top judge for delivering a dissenting judgment in a widely followed case of unilateral conversion.
He said the judge, whose identity he did not reveal, severely reprimanded him and did so in a manner unbecoming of someone holding a top post.
In February 2019, Hamid affirmed a 65-page affidavit in support of a suit filed by lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo against then chief justice Richard Malanjum.
The affidavit, which was widely circulated, said Malanjum had failed in his duty to preserve and protect the integrity of the judiciary.
Hamid also alleged that there had been interference in the second Anwar Ibrahim sodomy case as well as a sedition appeal by the late Karpal Singh.
Following his allegations, the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission attempted to record statements from Hamid, but he insisted he would only tell all to a RCI.
Following complaints by two judges, Hamid, who was represented by a team of lawyers led by Vendargon, was hauled up before the Judges’ Ethics Committee.
In February 2021, he was suspended for six months, becoming the first judge to be punished since the Judges’ Ethics Committee Act 2010 came into effect.