PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin must reveal the names of those who seek to obstruct the course of justice and lodge a report with the relevant authorities, says the Malaysian Bar.
Its president AG Kalidas said the Prime Minister's remark that he received pressure from particular parties to intervene in court matters as a way to exonerate several unnamed individuals from criminal charges was deeply concerning.
He added that if true, it is tantamount to the commission of several criminal offences, including obstruction of justice and abuse of power.
"Whomever that had approached the Prime Minister to intervene on their behalf is procuring the commission of a criminal offence.
"It is evident from the law that the Prime Minister is legally obliged to report such an incident immediately to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
"The Malaysian Bar therefore urges the Prime Minister to name the individuals who have made such requests and to lodge a report with the relevant authorities, without any further delay," he said in a statement on Thursday (Aug 5).
In his special address on Wednesday (Aug 4), the Prime Minister had alleged that some quarters were unhappy with him because he refused to entertain their demands, including to interfere with court matters to free several individuals who are facing court charges over criminal acts.
Kalidas pointed out that pursuant to Section 202 of the Penal Code, it behoves a person who has a reasonable belief that an offence has been committed, to give information in respect of that offence.
"Failure to do so is tantamount to an offence. It is also pertinent to note that the act of obstructing a public servant in the discharge of his or her public functions is a criminal offence under Section 186 of the Penal Code, and the definition of a 'public servant' in Section 21 of the Penal Code encompasses judges and officers of the court," he said.
He also noted that the police and the MACC must promptly commence investigations into these incriminating accusations.
In addition to investigations, the Malaysian Bar called for the immediate setting up of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to look into these claims, he added.
"This is a matter of critical public importance, and under no circumstances should the independence of our justice system be compromised," said Kalidas.
"The Prime Minister’s claims are serious allegations of attempts to persuade him to break the law and abuse his prime ministerial powers, and these have acute implications on the rule of law and the administration of justice in our country.
"A thorough investigation must be undertaken to uncover the extent of any attempt to interfere with our justice system," he said.
The Prime Minister, he added, had a duty to the rakyat as the leader of the country to provide a full and frank disclosure of the identities of these parties and bring them to justice.
"We call upon the Prime Minister to lead by example.
"The importance of a democracy where the judiciary is insulated from political interference cannot be overstated.
"The judiciary must be independent and impartial, free of all external influences so that it can carry out its functions without any impediment," he added.