KUALA LUMPUR: The government will consider the need for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) following the explosive affidavit filed by Court of Appeal judge Datuk Dr Hamid Sultan Abu Backer alleging judicial misconduct.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government would study the proposal to set up an RCI.
“However, we don’t really run down the judiciary openly,” he told a press conference after chairing Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s supreme council meeting here Friday (Feb 15).
The Prime Minister said he was currently not in a position to comment further.
On Thursday (Feb 14), Hamid made shocking claims in court papers, alleging scams between certain top judges and private litigants to cheat the government.
The revelation was contained in his 65-page affidavit filed in support of an application by Sangeet Kaur Deo, daughter of the late lawyer Karpal Singh, to declare that the Chief Justice had failed to defend the integrity of the judiciary in two cases.
Hamid said the scams were carried out by nominees of politicians getting into contracts with the government.
Once the government pulled out of a deal, the private parties would take the government to court to claim compensation.
He alleged that these private parties created contracts with the government to defraud public funds, and the apex court was perceived to be sympathetic to them.
Earlier Friday, Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) said it has collected evidence of interference with subordinate court judges in politically sensitive issues.
The group said this includes an incident where a top judge interfered with a high profile “political” prosecution at the Shah Alam Sessions Court during the Barisan Nasional administration.
“We believe this top judge may be the same ‘ARLC’ referred to by Hamid (in his affidavit). We are prepared to provide all information to an RCI,” the group said in a statement calling for an RCI.
The National Patriots Association (Patriot) also called for an RCI be formed to look into Hamid’s allegations, as did many Malaysians who took to social media.
If an RCI is formed, this would be the second one looking into the judiciary.
In 2007, an RCI was formed to look into a video recording, dating back to 2001, showing lawyer V.K. Lingam discussing the appointment of judges with former Chief Judge of Malaya Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim.
In the recording, Lingam could be heard boasting that he could get key judicial appointments made with the help of Dr Mahathir, who was also prime minister at the time.
The RCI also questioned Dr Mahathir, but he denied any knowledge of the matter, claiming he could not remember more than a dozen times during his testimony.
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