Malaysia

Bar says judges not beholden to politicians, as Zahid and Tok Mat slam the judiciary over Najib's case


Bar says judges not beholden to politicians, as Zahid and Tok Mat slam the judiciary over Najib's case

Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (right) and his deputy Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan (centre) have been backing Datuk Seri Najib Razak (left) by training their guns on the judiciary. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

By Keertan Ayamany

Friday, 19 Aug 2022 11:30 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 — The Malaysian Bar today denounced Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and his deputy Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan for statements made regarding a Federal Court decision in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s final appeal in the SRC International Sdn Bhd case.

Bar President Karen Cheah Yee Lynn today said that judges are required to treat every person in an equal manner “whether he or she is an average member of the public, or a former prime minister”.

“It is not the place for politicians to sow discord amongst the ‘rakyat’ by releasing statements that could potentially tarnish the reputation of the judicial system in the eyes of the public,” she said in a statement.

“Judges are beholden to no one but the law — not to politicians or any form of external interference — and criticisms by politicians towards judges for their own purposes is unconscionable and must be avoided at all costs,” she added.

Yesterday, Zahid made a post on his Facebook page saying that the Federal Court’s decision to reject Najib’s request to present purported fresh evidence in his corruption conviction appeal, could tarnish the judiciary’s image.

A day before, the politician known as Tok Mat had made a similar statement, saying “justice hurried is justice buried”.

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Cheah, however, said that both politicians had “conveniently failed” to mention that the apex court had rejected Najib’s bid based on laws and precedents.

“A crucial element is that the evidence sought to be adduced must not have been available at the trial,” she said, adding that the Court found that Najib’s affidavit had failed to state exactly what the supposed new evidence will prove in relation to the charges against him.

The Malaysian Bar had in a separate statement earlier said any attempt purporting a narrative that Datuk Seri Najib Razak is a victim in his SRC International court case is “highly mischievous”

Cheah said that it was Najib’s own decision to change his own lawyers so late into proceedings, noting that it was the second time the former prime minister had done so during the case.



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