We can probe any public official, including judges, says MACC

(FMT) – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has dismissed criticism over its probe into Court of Appeal judge Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, maintaining it has the authority to probe any public official, including judges.

It said this was provided for under the MACC Act 2009, and that public officials include workers of any public body including members of the government, MPs, assemblymen and judges.

MACC also pointed out that it had investigated other judges in the past with their investigation papers sent to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), as was the norm.

“In line with the principle of separation of powers, after all probes are completed, investigation papers are referred to the AGC to decide whether to prosecute or not,” it said in a statement.

The agency reiterated that it bore the responsibility of confirming and investigating any reports it receives that fall under its jurisdiction.

It said three reports were filed over Nazlan’s case, on March 15 as well as April 23 and 27, and maintained that its probe was still at an early stage.

“When an investigation is initiated against any individual, it does not mean that the said individual has committed an offence.

“With that, the MACC asks the public to allow the investigation to be conducted.”

Nazlan lodged a police report last week over a news article alleging that he was being investigated for unexplained money in his bank account.

Nazlan was the trial judge who convicted and sentenced former prime minister Najib Razak on seven charges relating to RM42 million in funds belonging to SRC International on July 28, 2020.

Last December, the Court of Appeal upheld the conviction. An appeal against the conviction is pending before the Federal Court.

Among others, the Malaysian Bar said the Constitution provided for complaints of alleged judicial misconduct to be handled in a manner that ensured continued public confidence in the judiciary.

Pakatan Harapan earlier today urged Putrajaya to ensure that enforcement agencies respect the judiciary’s independence, describing this as key to a judicial system trusted by the people.