AAS urges MACC to step aside to allow Chief Justice of Malaysia to handle Court of Appeal judge’s graft case

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KUCHING, June 17: The Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) is calling upon the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to take a step back and reflect upon the investigations it has launched surrounding a Court of Appeal judge over an allegation of unexplained monies in the said judge’s bank account.

AAS also urged MACC to stop or suspend the investigation and to refer the matter to the Chief Justice of Malaysia (Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat) as provided under the Judges’ Code of Ethics 2009 so that the matter can be judiciously addressed by the latter.

AAS have since made representations to the government via a formal letter to the Prime Minister to demand for the preservation of the separation of powers and for the intrusions made upon the powers of the Chief Justice of Malaysia to be restored.

“AAS urges the preservation of the principles enshrined in the Separation of Powers and the Rule of Law so that a respectable administration of justice can be rooted in Malaysia,” said AAS in a statement today, which was undersigned by its president Antonio Sim.

AAS has been cautiously and continuously monitoring and keeping abreast with the developments surrounding the investigation launched by MACC onto Court of Appeal Judge Dato Naslan Mohd Ghazali over a graft allegation.

On April 21, 2022, the Office of the Chief Registrar of the Federal Court of Malaysia had issued a press release informing that Naslan had lodged a police report denying the allegations raised in statements that had appeared in a news portal on April 20, 2022, and further stated that those allegations are false, baseless and maliciously designed to interfere with the due administration of justice.

On April 27, 2022, Tengku Maimum in her speech at the taking of Oath of Office and Loyalty Ceremony of High Court Judges reminded that it is important to emphasise that the Judiciary is the last line of defence in a constitutional democracy and there must never be a suspicion that the Judiciary is captured.

“When a need arises for the Judiciary to be criticised, this should be done in a manner that is constructive and does not undermine its independence and public confidence in the Judiciary.

“No one should sow the seeds of doubts among the public concerning the integrity of the Judiciary or judges”.

“Under no circumstances should we falter. The integrity of the justice system and the independence of the Judiciary can never be compromised under any circumstances,” she said.

AAS declared that it ascribed to the wisdom of Tengku Maimum and fully support her stance on independence of the Judiciary.

“Independence of the Judiciary is a hallmark principle expounded in the concept of separation of powers between the respective legislative branch and the executive branch and the judiciary branch of the system of government.

“Independence of the Judiciary is also critical to preserve the existence and survival of the Rule of Law as a pathway towards a respectable administration of justice.

“Whilst AAS agrees that no one is above the law, there are specific legislative provisions to address the allegations that had been levelled against the said Court of Appeal Judge,” said AAS.

Quoting Article 125 of the Federal Constitution, AAS is of the opinion that the appropriate avenue to lodge the complaint against Naslan should have been to Tengku Maimum as provided under the Judges’ Code of Ethics 2009 which is a direct legislative subsidiary under Article 125 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

To AAS, the Malaysian Anti- Corruption Act 2009, upon which the MACC was established, is a subservient legislation to the Federal Constitution of Malaysia rather than a direct legislative subsidiary.

“Therefore, by the MACC launching the investigation onto the said Court of Appeal Judge without the avenue to The Right Honourable Chief Justice of Malaysia having been exhausted, is an intrusion into the affairs of the Judiciary and thereby prejudicing the independence of the Judiciary.

“AAS urges the Executive Branch of the Government as well as MACC to put a stop to such intrusion immediately and not to initiate any such intrusions onto the Judiciary in the future.”

AAS said it is closely monitoring the pending suit filed before the High Court in Kuala Lumpur seeking certain declarations over the actions of the MACC concerning the said Court of Appeal Judge. — DayakDaily