Two non-governmental organisations have condemned the recent campaign by certain parties to smear the good name of Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, the judge who convicted Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the SRC International Sdn Bhd case.
The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) and Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM), in a joint statement today, said the campaign by those associated with the disgraced former prime minister appeared to have been designed to subvert the administration of justice and to bring the Malaysian judiciary into disrepute.
“Bersih and GBM believe the smear campaign that has been launched against Justice Nazlan and the Malaysian judicial system by his (Najib’s) lawyers and associates is intended to secure and justify for Najib a royal pardon that would see him freed from prison.
“We humbly call on His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and all Malaysians to reject this attempt by a convicted criminal and his associates to subvert the administration of justice and to bring the judiciary into disrepute,” the statement read.
The NGOs added that Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat should be allowed to decide on any appropriate action independently based on the information before her on the claims of judicial misconduct by Nazlan.
The NGOs said a definitive protocol for the handling of investigations against members of the judiciary was set out by the Federal Court which provides that the investigating body should first seek leave from the chief justice to investigate any judge.
The protocols also stated that the contents of the investigation cannot be publicised or advertised without prior approval of the chief justice and that the entire contents of the investigation must remain confidential at all times.
“Bersih and GBM note that from the facts now available to the public, it is clear that three of the four stipulations made by the Federal Court have been violated by the MACC and the government.
“The investigation of Justice Nazlan was commenced without consulting the chief justice and the fact of the investigation was advertised without her approval.
“This was held by the Federal Court to be ‘a very strong indication of a lack of bona fide (good faith) in a criminal investigation’.
“Now, even the contents of the MACC’s findings have been publicised by the minister.”
Bersih and GBM noted that the MACC was empowered only to investigate offences under the MACC Act and following such an investigation, it may forward a complaint to the chief justice to decide whether further action should be taken under the Judges’ Code of Ethics 2009.
The two NGOs said the MACC has no expertise or authority to decide whether a judge presiding over a criminal trial has a conflict of interest that requires him to recuse himself from the trial, or to decide whether the judge has breached the Judges’ Code of Ethics.
The MACC’s intrusion into matters of judicial trial management and judicial ethics appears to demonstrate its arrogance, disrespect and contempt for the independence of the judiciary.
They called for an inquiry into the MACC’s actions and the curious timing of publicising their investigation just before Najib’s SRC final appeal before the apex court last year.
Bersih and GBM said such an inquiry should be initiated by a Parliamentary Special Select Committee.