KUALA LUMPUR, April 25 — Dissatisfaction over former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s conviction over the misappropriation of RM42 million from government-owned SRC International Sdn Bhd should be dealt with directly through appealing in the courts, and not through “backhanded” moves to attack the trial judge, the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) said today.
Muda also highlighted that the attacks against the trial judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali had came about through a “discredited” blogger.
In a statement today, Muda central executive committee member Lim Wei Jiet noted that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had said that investigations has been launched on the judge based on the procedure where investigation papers are opened when a report has been officially lodged.
But Lim said it is wrong for the MACC to suggest that an investigation paper must be automatically opened once a report is lodged.
“The law provides for the authorities to dismiss frivolous complaints at the outset so as not to waste precious time and manpower.
“This is especially when such complaints first arose from a controversial discredited blogger,” said Lim, who is also a lawyer.
Although Lim did not name this blogger, blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin who is a fugitive abroad had published blog posts attacking the SRC trial judge.
Lim also said it was disappointing that “certain irresponsible politicians” are now using the MACC investigation to cast doubt on the judge’s and the judiciary’s integrity.
“Such an attack would erode public trust in our judiciary, especially when it concerns the SRC and 1MDB trial which are closely watched all across the globe.
“Any grievances against the conviction of Datuk Seri Najib Razak by the High Court which Nazlan presided should be taken up at the appellate courts, and not through backhanded politically-driven methods such as these,” he said.
“Muda is gravely concerned of a recent pattern by many actors outside the judicial system to interfere with the conviction of Najib. This would be highly damaging to Malaysia’s image as a nation which purports to respect the rule of law.
“The world is watching, and if there is indeed foul play, it would be gravely damaging economically and democratically,” he added.
“Muda stands with all judges who carry out their duties independently, with integrity and without fear or favour,” Lim concluded.
In his Twitter post on Muda’s statement, Lim also wrote: “We cannot let selfish politicians undermine certain judges so it fits their political goals. The judiciary is one of the last independent institutions standing – please help defend it.”
The Malaysian Bar had also said the MACC’s investigation on the judge could be seen as undermining the independence of the courts and violates the doctrine of separation of powers and is unconstitutional, highlighting that there is already an existing constitutional mechanism in the Federal Constitution to deal with complaints of alleged judicial misconduct.
In supporting judges who are independent and with integrity, the Malaysian Bar also cautioned that Malaysia should not give in to the temptation of taking the easy approach in handling “irresponsible noise” from “keyboard warriors” who carry out online attacks on the courts’ independence.
DAP’s Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng had said Raja Petra’s allegations have “consistently been proven to be false and baseless” and that the blogger who was allegedly “hiding” in London should be asked to return to Malaysia to face investigations over his allegations on Nazlan.
Nazlan had recently lodged a police report which stated that Raja Petra’s blog post contained “false, baseless and malicious” allegations intended to interfere with the justice system and judiciary.
The recent online attacks against Nazlan as the SRC trial judge had started appearing more than one and a half years after his July 2020 verdict that found Najib guilty, or in other words just about three months after the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s decision on December 8 last year.
The Federal Court is now the final court where Najib can pursue his appeal against his SRC conviction and jail sentence and RM210 million fine, after the Court of Appeal rejected his bid to overturn the guilty verdict and sentencing.
Najib filed his appeal on December 8 last year to the Federal Court, or on the same day he failed in his appeal at the Court of Appeal.
Najib reportedly plans to bring in a Queen’s Counsel from the UK to represent him in the SRC appeal. Queen’s Counsel is a term typically referring to leading senior lawyers in the UK who handle more complex cases.
The hearing date for Najib’s appeal against his SRC conviction at the Federal Court has not been fixed yet, as it is still in the preliminary stages.