KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 30 — Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun should take action against the hurling of untrue claims of bribery against the trial judge who had heard Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s SRC case, eight former Malaysian Bar presidents said today.
In a strongly-worded statement to defend the judiciary which came under attack after Najib was found guilty in the SRC case, the eight former presidents of the Malaysian Bar criticised the potential criminal act by those who had made false allegations against the SRC trial judge.
The eight former presidents said the false allegation of bribery against Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali — the judge who had heard and decided on Najib’s SRC case — was “outrageous and spurious”.
Noting that this allegation of bribery had been widely published by a discredited blogger, they noted that Najib had later reportedly on August 9 nonchalantly withdrawn this serious allegation against Mohd Nazlan.
They suggested the attack on the judge could be a crime, pointing out that the bribery claims were false and actually attacked the entire judiciary.
“It is difficult to find a greater travesty occasioned upon the trial Judge that in our view has criminal consequences. Not only is this a baseless assault on the learned Judge, but it is an assault on the whole Judiciary,” they said in a seven-page statement.
Noting that the current attorney general Idrus was himself a former Federal Court judge, they said he must especially appreciate the ramifications or the consequences of such assaults on the judiciary.
“We trust he will act on these false allegations,” they said.
They also urged Idrus to quickly crack down on the “new and unhealthy phenomenon” which has recently emerged, where a discredited blogger had allegedly twice “leaked” purported judgments of the Federal Court and the High Court in high-profile cases before the decisions were delivered.
“These unhealthy events are unprecedented in our history and are a stain on the administration of justice. They are clearly an attempt to undermine confidence in the judiciary and can be seen as a means to threaten the Judges. These are potentially criminal acts.
“This unhealthy and illegal practice must stop.
“We again urge the Attorney General to act swiftly and bring to book the persons involved in these heinous acts and ensure that they face the full force of the law. If left unchecked they will have a corrosive effect on the administration of justice,” they said.
The statement was signed off by the eight, namely Zainur Zakaria, Datuk Mah Weng Kwai, Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari, Datuk Yeo Yang Poh, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, Datuk Lim Chee Wee, Steven Thiru, and Datuk George Varughese.
The eight of them also expressed “full support” for current Malaysian Bar president Karen Cheah in her defence of the independence of the judiciary.
“We stand with the judiciary in these unprecedented times as they face an onslaught of attacks by individuals attempting to strike fear in the judges and to undermine their independence,” they said.
They also commended the judges “who not flinched in the face of such appalling threats”, noting that the judiciary has shown its determination to do justice “though the heavens may fall”.
“We thus stand with the Malaysian Bar who will defend the brave judges for upholding their oath of office without fear or favour,” they concluded.
The Malaysian Bar is a professional body that as of June 27 represents a total of 21,659 lawyers in Peninsular Malaysia and the federal territories.
As for the purported leaks by fugitive blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin who is wanted in Malaysia but is believed to be abroad, the judiciary had on August 23 said the purported leaked judgment of Najib's final SRC appeal was a draft that had been altered. The purported leak was published on Raja Petra's blog ahead of the Federal Court's delivery of its decision on August 23.
The judiciary said at that time that internal investigations had been launched and a police report was made over the purported leak, stressing that the courts would not be threatened by illegal acts that seek to affect the integrity of Malaysia’s justice system.
Ahead of the High Court’s September 1 decision on whether Najib’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, is guilty of soliciting and accepting millions of ringgit in bribes, Raja Petra’s blog had on August 26 claimed to have the written judgment for her case.
Noting that such actions are deliberately aimed at affecting the integrity of the courts’ operations and the administration of justice, the judiciary on August 27 confirmed it had lodged a police report over the matter.