PETALING JAYA: Umno veteran Shahrir Samad has defended law and institutional reform minister Azalina Othman Said after she revealed information about an investigation into Justice Nazlan Ghazali in the Dewan Rakyat.
Shahrir said Azalina had “done no wrong” in revealing details about the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) probe into Nazlan, following a claim by PKR’s Selayang MP William Leong that she was in contempt of court for doing so.
“Her answer in Parliament pre-dated the Federal Court ruling on Feb 24 that the MACC and the attorney-general (AG) must follow protocol to seek permission from the chief justice before investigating or charging a sitting judge.
“So how could Azalina be in contempt of a ruling that had not happened yet?” he said in a statement today.
Azalina had told the Dewan Rakyat on Feb 23 that the MACC’s report, pertaining to its probe into Nazlan’s alleged breach of the Judges’ Code of Ethics 2009 when presiding over Najib Razak’s SRC International trial in the High Court, had been submitted to the chief justice.
She had said she received a letter from the MACC that the agency had submitted its report to Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat on Feb 21.
On Feb 24, a seven-member Federal Court panel led by Tengku Maimun ruled that MACC had not followed protocol when conducting its investigations into Nazlan.
The apex court said investigating bodies like MACC must consult the chief justice before initiating a probe against judges. Its failure to do so showed there was “a lack of bona fide on their part”.
Shahrir said Leong’s accusation that Azalina had committed contempt had no merit and asked why a government MP was “openly throwing false allegations” against his own minister.
The former six-term MP for Johor Bahru claimed that many were “uncomfortable” with the protocols cited by Tengku Maimun as it suggested that judges were above the law.
“The problem is that these protocols never existed before, which has been confirmed by former chief justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad, who severely criticised the said Federal Court ruling and said the judiciary had over-reached against the executive to enact new laws,” he said.