By Zainur Zakaria
The revelation by law and institutional reform minister Azalina Othman Said of a letter purported to have been written by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat recommending disciplinary action against Justice Nazlan Ghazali for breaches of the Judges’ Code of Ethics raises many disturbing questions.
Firstly, the role and function of MACC.
The question that springs to mind is, has MACC the authority to investigate alleged breaches of the Judges’ Code of Ethics, and make recommendations to the chief justice for disciplinary action to be taken.
In the course of making the recommendation, MACC had taken upon itself the power and authority to interpret the relevant provisions of the code for it to come to the conclusion that Nazlan was conflicted when he presided over Najib Razak’s SRC case.
The question that follows is whether MACC is empowered to do so.
Earlier, MACC had publicly stated that its report had been handed over to the attorney-general (AG) for further action.
Having submitted the report to the AG, why then did MACC send the purported letter to the chief justice? This action by MACC raises questions as to the motive.
The SRC case has witnessed leakages of draft judgments, classified documents and letters, such as the MACC letter to the chief justice, as well as allegations of bias against the chief justice simply because her husband had published a post on Facebook about the 2018 election results.
We also remember the remarks by the law minister in her speech during the Umno general assembly where she suggested that the government appoint a “compliant” AG.
The situation is getting more explosive with each passing day. There are elements intent on exploiting any issue to achieve their objective, and their actions have cast doubt on the integrity of the various institutions.
It is highly alarming that classified documents are easily accessible from MACC. The integrity of MACC has clearly been compromised.
An investigation must be conducted to prevent further occurrences.
There is no doubt there are hidden hands in MACC without which such leakages could not have occurred.
The situation is aggravated by the many rumours and speculation swirling about.
Something must be done to put an end to all of this, and it is incumbent upon the AG to issue a clarification.
Zainur Zakaria is a former Malaysian Bar president and an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.