‘There is no danger of bias to recuse me’

  • Nation
  • Friday, 18 May 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court will proceed with the hearing of a suit over Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad linked to Bank Negara’s foreign exchange losses, following its dismissal of his application to recuse the judge from hearing his case.

Justice Azizah Nawawi (pic) dismissed the Prime Minister’s application to recuse her, saying that Dr Mahathir, who is the plaintiff, should show that there was a real danger of bias and not just a reasonable suspicion of bias on the part of the court to hear the case.

Dr Mahathir is seeking to declare that the Royal Commission of Inquiry’s (RCI) report on Bank Negara’s foreign exchange losses was null and void.

Justice Azizah said that the “real danger of bias” had not been made out as the subject matter of the case was different from the first RCI-1 case.

The RCI-1 case filed by Dr Mahathir was to disqualify Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan and Tan Sri Saw Choo Boon from being panel members in the RCI proceedings.

She said in the RCI-1 case, the subject matter was on RCI’s composition of members.

“The present application is to challenge the findings of the RCI for failing to include in the report the entire notes of proceedings including oral testimonies of the witnesses, all applications made by the parties (written or oral) and the entire submissions of the parties.

“This court is mindful of the dangers in abdicating its judicial function and duties if it is to simply allow any application for a recusal.

“I will dismiss the application for recusal with no order as to costs,” she said yesterday.

Dr Mahathir had sought to recuse Justice Azizah on the grounds that the judge had previously heard a suit filed by him involving the same subject.

In the originating summons filed on Dec 19 last year, Dr Mahathir said the report was illegal, incomplete and defective as it lacked proceeding notes, and written and oral submissions through transcriptions or video recordings.

The suit also sought to declare any report by any RCI established under the Commission of Inquiry Act as legal and in order only if they had all the written statements by the witnesses who testified in the proceeding, the proceeding notes, the submissions and the findings.

Among others, the suit named Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, Datuk Kamaludin Md Said, Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan, Tan Sri Saw Choo Boon, S.A.K. Pushpanathan, RCI secretary Datuk Dr Yusof Ismail, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and the Government as defendants.

On Oct 13 last year, Mohd Sidek, who was the RCI chairman, presented the RCI findings on Bank Negara’s forex trading losses to Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V during a meeting.

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