Bar to hold protest over MACC probe into judge


KUALA LUMPUR: Calling it an intimidation against the judiciary, the Malaysian Bar is set to organise a peaceful protest to denounce the investigation into Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

The move was one of the resolutions approved at a Malaysian Bar extraordinary general meeting (EGM) yesterday.

“The Malaysian Bar condemns in the strongest possible terms the unprecedented manner in which the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has publicly announced the commencement of criminal investigation of a superior court judge and disclosed the judge’s name to the public.

“This is tantamount to an act of intimidation against the judiciary.

“We condemn any interference with the independence of the judiciary and breaches of the fundamental principle of separation of powers.

“The Malaysian Bar shall take immediate and necessary steps to organise a peaceful protest at a time and venue deemed suitable by the Bar Council,” Malaysian Bar president Karen Cheah told a press conference after the EGM.

The Bar Council, which has 42 members elected annually, manages the Malaysian Bar, the professional body regulating the legal profession in Peninsular Malaysia.

Cheah said the Bar Council will be meeting tomorrow to decide on the date and venue for the protest.

She added that it could be similar to previous protests organised by the bar, such as the 2007 “Walk for Justice” in Putrajaya and the 2011 “Walk for Freedom” in Kuala Lumpur.

On April 22, MACC said it was investigating claims that there were funds transferred to Mohd Nazlan’s account during his time as Maybank’s group general counsel and company secretary.

On May 21, MACC said it had completed the investigation, which began in March, and submitted the papers to the Attorney General’s Chambers on May 18 for further review and action.

Notably, Mohd Nazlan was previously the High Court judge who convicted Datuk Seri Najib Razak of misappropriating RM42mil of SRC International Sdn Bhd funds, sentencing the former prime minister to 12 years’ jail and a RM210mil fine, in July 2020.

The decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal in December 2021.

Cheah said besides the protest walk, the Bar Council is also considering filing a legal suit to challenge the MACC’s investigation.

“We are also considering advocating legislative reform to protect the independence of the judiciary from interference by the Executive,” she added.

She said the Malaysian Bar is also calling on Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun to act on the matter and “take necessary steps” to protect the judiciary from intimidation and interference.

“We want the AG to act on the fact that he also has a role to play to uphold independence of the judiciary,” she added.

The resolution on upholding and protecting the independence of the judiciary was adopted with an “overwhelming” majority by members of the bar at the EGM.

Cheah said the presidents of the Sabah Law Society and the Advocates Association of Sarawak were also present at the EGM as observers.

“On the subject of upholding the independence of the judiciary, we believe that all three bars are aligned,” she said.

More than 600 members of the Malaysian Bar attended the EGM, which was held at Wisma MCA here.

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