PETALING JAYA:The Malaysian Bar urged the government to establish the composition and the term of reference of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to investigate the allegations of judicial interference and misconduct without further delay.
Its president, Datuk Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor, said it viewed with great concern the considerable amount of time that the Government seems to be taking to set up the RCI to investigate the grave allegations of judicial interference and judicial misconduct.
"53 days have passed since Feb 21, when the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, first announced that the government would form an RCI to look into the allegations.
"Since then, there has been (to our knowledge) no news regarding the implementation of that decision.
"The RCI’s composition and terms of reference have yet to be announced," he said in a statement.
On Feb 14, Court of Appeal judge Datuk Dr Hamid Sultan Abu Backer had filed a 65-page affidavit in court, in support of an application by the late Karpal Singh’s daughter, Sangeet Singh Deo, to declare that the Chief Justice had failed to defend the integrity of the judiciary in two cases.
Hamid Sultan claimed that the scam was 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.
Hamid Sultan had also alleged that these private parties created contracts with the government to defraud public funds, and that the Apex court was perceived to be sympathetic to them.
Abdul Fareed said the Malaysian Bar has repeatedly called for the establishment of the RCI since August 2018, when the allegations of judicial impropriety first surfaced during Justice Datuk Dr Hamid Sultan’s presentation as a panellist at the Malaysian Bar’s International Malaysia Law Conference 2018.
"A member of the Malaysian Bar subsequently made further allegations.
"We reiterate our call to the government to act decisively to establish the RCI, without delay, to not only investigate the serious assertions of judicial misconduct, but also to recommend holistic and comprehensive reforms to improve and strengthen the institution of the judiciary," he said.
He added that a thorough and immediate investigation need to be undertaken to ascertain the facts and the extent of any interference in the ability of judges to make impartial decisions, as well as to put in place measures to ensure that no manner of coercion, influence or threat is ever brought to bear on any judge.
"The Malaysian Bar is mindful that the sanctity of the independence and integrity of the judiciary is essential, and of the utmost importance for upholding the rule of law and instilling public confidence.
"It must not be allowed to be tarnished. A fair and effective administration of justice - and unshakeable public confidence in the dispensation of justice - depends on it," he said.
Various parties have also called for an RCI to probe the complaints against the judiciary.
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