High Court to hold reference hearing over probe of judges

(FMT) – The High Court has fixed June 23 to hear an application to refer questions of law to the Federal Court on whether law enforcement agencies could investigate, and the public prosecutor frame charges against serving superior court judges.

This is in reference to a suit filed by two lawyers and an activist for several declarations, including whether the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigation of judge Nazlan Mohd Ghazali is unconstitutional.

Lawyer A Surendra Ananth, a member of the legal team appearing for Nur Ain Mustapa, Sreekant Pillai and Haris Ibrahim, said the defendants – MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki, MACC and the government – were objecting to the reference application.

“The date for the reference application was fixed after a case management before judge Noorin Badaruddin,” he told FMT.

The first question is whether, having regard to provisions in the Federal Constitution, criminal investigation bodies are only legally permitted to investigate judges of the superior courts (High Court, Court of Appeal and the Federal Court) only after he/she has been suspended

Another question is whether the public prosecutor is empowered to institute or conduct any proceedings for an offence against serving judges of the superior courts.

Surenthra, who appeared with Wong Ming Yen for the plaintiffs, said the defendants have been given until June 2 to file affidavits to respond to the suit.

“Both parties must also file their submission by June 22 before the hearing on the reference application,” he said.

Senior federal counsel Mazlifah Ayob appeared for the defendants.

MACC has dismissed criticism over its probe on Nazlan, maintaining that it has the authority to investigate any public official, including judges.

Nazlan lodged a police report three weeks ago over a report by fugitive blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin alleging that he was being investigated for unexplained money in his bank account.

Nazlan was the trial judge who convicted and sentenced 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 and the Federal Court has fixed 10 days from Aug 15 to hear the final appeal.