Najib questions ‘unusual’ transfer of judges in letter to Chief Judge of Malaya


 Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zaharah Ibrahim. -Bernamapic

Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zaharah Ibrahim. -Bernamapic

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has sent a letter to Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zaharah Ibrahim over the “unusual” transfer of a trial judge presiding over his abuse of power and criminal breach of trust cases.

His lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said a copy of the letter was sent to current trial judge Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali and the previous judge Justice Datuk Mohd Sofian Abd Razak.

“We find it strange that in the middle of the case being tried in Justice Sofian’s court, we now have a sudden transfer order.

“We have no issue with either judge and we don’t fault any of them.

“However, the registry system in Putrajaya was not sensitive to the fact that this is a sensitive issue and ought to be done in open court,” he told reporters when met at the lobby of the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex on Wednesday (Aug 8).

Last month, a transfer order was signed by the Chief Judge of Malaya for the transfer of three judges, including Justice Mohd Nazlan.

Justice Mohd Sofian was transferred to New Civil Court (NCvC) 10.

Another judge, Justice S. Nantha Balan, took over Justice Mohd Nazlan’s previous court in the commercial division.

Muhammad Shafee said an application should be made before Justice Mohd Sofian if anyone thinks that the latter should be recused.

“In this matter, neither the prosecution nor we made any application to recuse Justice Mohd Sofian.

“So there’s a big question mark why Justice Mohd Sofian was moved out and Justice Nazlan moved in,” he said.

This is why, said Muhammad Shafee, he sent a lengthy letter to the Chief Judge on behalf of his client.

“It affects the system of justice in the country. If you talk about justice, it must be done in open court, and in a transparent manner; what happened is not the fault of the two judges but it is the system’s fault.

“The system is not transparent. Something is seriously wrong,” he said, adding that the ball is in the Chief Judge’s court.

On Justice Mohd Sofian’s links to Najib, Muhammad Shafee said it was the only reason the rumour was started.

“The relationship of a judge and his siblings or relative is not an issue or even if the sibling is in another political camp.

“For example, Justice Nazlan didn’t see a problem in presiding over the withdrawal of a case involving Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, whereby they were from the same firm previously.

“It is not something to disqualify yourself from,” he said.

It was reported that Justice Mohd Sofian, who was presiding over Najib’s abuse of power and criminal breach of trust cases, is the younger brother of Pahang state executive councillor and Benta Umno state assemblyman Datuk Seri Mohd Soffi Abdul Razak.

Following the news report, the Malaysian Bar called for the judge to recuse himself.