Federal Court dismisses Najib’s application to recuse Court of Appeal judge in SRC case review

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The Federal Court today dismissed Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s application to recuse one of its panelists hearing his review in the SRC International Berhad case.

Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli when reading the ruling said Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat had the power to select the Federal Court’s panelists in the interest of justice.

“We are not persuaded that Court of Appeal judge Datuk Abu Bakar Jais should recuse himself.

“In our view, the law is clear that the Chief Justice has the power to select the Federal Court’s panel.

“In these circumstances, the preliminary objection is dismissed,” he said.

Najib, through his lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah raised an objection against the list of panelists which comprised four judges from the Federal Court and a Court of Appeal judge.

The other panelists are Abdul Rahman and federal court judges Datuk Vernon Ong Lam Kiat, Datuk Rhodzariah Bujang, and Datuk Nordin Hassan.

Shafee argued that Abu Bakar should recuse himself and the review could be heard before a three-member bench under Section 74(1) of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964.


Section 74(1) stipulates that the Federal Court shall be heard and disposed of by three Judges or such greater uneven number of Judges as the Chief Justice may in any particular case determine.

However, Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram objected to the application, noting that such an arrangement to co-opt a Court of Appeal judge is allowed under Article 122(2) of the Federal Constitution.

He also said the objection against the judge must show a real danger of bias.

“The Chief Justice has fulfilled the requirements of Article 122 of the Federal Constitution with the selection of Judge Abu Bakar on the panel.

“This attempt by the defence to shape the panel is highly offensive and contemptuous.

“We cannot tell the court how to come up with the panel… that is contemptuous,” he said.

The former prime minister is seeking a review of the Federal Court’s decision to reject his application to adduce fresh evidence relating to then-High Court judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

He is also seeking a review of the court’s decision to dismiss his bid to postpone his appeal hearing as well as the decision to recuse Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun.

Najib is also seeking a review of the court’s decision on Aug 23, last year, to affirm his conviction and sentence.


Najib, 70, was found guilty of abuse of power in relation to a RM4 billion loan given by Retirement Fund (Inc) (KWAP) to SRC between August 2011 and March 2012.

He was also convicted of criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving RM42 million of SRC funds between Dec 26, 2014, and Feb 10, 2015.

For this, Najib was sentenced to 12 years’ jail and fined RM210 million by the High Court, with the jail sentence and fine being upheld by the Court of Appeal on Dec 8, 2021, and further affirmed by the Federal Court on Aug 23 last year. – NST