PETALING JAYA: The High Court judge who convicted former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the SRC International corruption trial - Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali -, has been transferred from the Kuala Lumpur criminal court to the civil court.
A circular from the Malaysian Bar Council stated that Justice Nazlan had been transferred from the Criminal Court 3 to the New Civil Court 2 within the Kuala Lumpur High Court.
The change will take effect on March 1.
Justice Nazlan is the judge who presided over Najib's RM42mil SRC International corruption trial six months ago, where the former prime minister was found guilty of all seven charges of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust (CBT) and money laundering.
Bar Council president Salim Bashir Bhaskaran said the change was a normal administrative transfer and Nazlan would be required to complete part-heard matters before his transfer date.
"If he cannot do so, he would need to report to the Chief Judge of Malaya on the status of the matters for further direction," he said.
Another lawyer, Datuk Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor also said the transfer was something normal within the judiciary and added that there should be no cause for concern.
"It's a sort of lateral transfer and something very normal within the judiciary and it can happen within a court, a state or interstate," said the former president of the Bar Council.
However, lawyer and activist Siti Kasim expressed her concerns over the transfer.
"While judges do get moved across different courts and divisions, I find it disturbing that only he got transferred. There is nothing normal about this," she said.
She also said Justice Nazlan cannot hear any new cases while he completes his part-heard criminal cases before his transfer takes effect.
Justice Nazlan has a few more cases on his plate to conclude before his transfer, including Najib's ongoing CBT case involving RM6.6bil.
Najib will face the trial with former treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah and they face six counts of CBT.
Justice Nazlan is also set to deliver his end-of-defence decision on Feb 3 in a corruption case linked to the purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites by Felda Investment Corp Sdn Bhd involving former Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad.
Justice Nazlan was appointed Judicial Commissioner in April 2015 and elevated to the High Court in January 2017.
In August 2018, it was reported that he was transferred from the commercial division to the criminal court, taking over from previous judge Justice Mohd Sofian Abd Razak, who initially presided over Najib's case.
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