Malaysian Bar: MACC probe against judge Nazlan unconstitutional

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The Malaysian Bar said that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigation against Court of Appeal judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali is unconstitutional.

Its president, Karen Cheah Yee Lynn, also said that the probe violates the doctrine of separation of powers and also undermines the independence of the judiciary.

In a statement, she said: “there are mechanisms in place to deal with this issue and…any attempt by irresponsible parties can be seen as to stab public confidence in the judiciary.”

“Article 125 of the Federal Constitution provides a specific pathway which allows for complaints of judicial misconduct to be addressed in a manner that ensures continued public confidence in the Judiciary.

“Without that necessary confidence instilled in the judiciary as an institution, the administration of justice system cannot command the respect and acceptance that are essential to its effective operation in our administration of justice,” she said.

Justice Nazlan had lodged a police report on April 21 over a news article published by the Malaysia Today portal alleging that he is being investigated for unexplained money transferred into his bank account.

The Office of the Chief Registrar of the Federal Court had said in a statement that Nazlan denied the “false, baseless and malicious allegations” aimed at undermining his credibility as a Court of Appeal judge.

It had also said that the office takes such allegations and comments seriously, and reminded the public that charges against the judiciary which are intended to interfere with cases that are in midst of a trial are a violation of the principle of sub judice.

Cheah said it is not apparent to the public who lodged the report or when such a report was lodged.

“What is obvious to the Malaysian Bar is that there should be no double standards by authorities in approaching the same issue – and on this basis, we demand equivalent investigations to be carried out by the police authorities on the police report lodged by Nazlan on the allegations raised by the statements issued by Raja Petra Kamarudin on his blog, Malaysia Today, dated April 20, 2022,” she said.

Cheah said the Malaysian Bar is fully aware that the judiciary is not in any position to take steps to protect itself by involving itself in a trial by media or any form of public controversy.

“…there is, therefore, a need by the Malaysian Bar to protect the dignity and integrity of the courts and the Judiciary as a whole, considering the nature of the office has always been that it is defenceless to criticism or wild allegations made by irresponsible parties,” she said.

“We call for a circumspect approach by our authorities, and not to fall to the temptation to the irresponsible noise made by keyboard warriors – cull the easy approach, for the greater good of our nation,” Cheah said.

On April 23, The Star newspaper carried an exclusive report stating that MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki had confirmed that the commission had commenced a probe against Justice Nazlan over allegations of unexplained money in his account following official reports lodged with it regarding the matter.