PUTRAJAYA (Jan 4): The internal probe by the judiciary into allegations of possible judicial misconduct — raised by Court of Appeal judge Datuk Hamid Sultan Abu Backer in an explosive affidavit last year — had to be halted due to police investigations.
Chief Justice (CJ) Tan Sri Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat (pictured) revealed yesterday that the judiciary had left the matter with the police, and that she does not know the outcome of their probe, or whether the police had submitted the report of their investigation to the Attorney General's Chambers for further action.
The internal probe, she said, was initiated by her predecessor Tan Sri Richard Malanjum but was halted, following the start of police investigations.
“The police have recorded statements from several members of the judiciary and we have not resumed our internal probe [after that], owing to the outcome of the police investigations,” she said when explaining the matter during a meet-the-press session at her chambers here yesterday.
She was asked about measures to restore confidence in the judiciary, in light of the suit filed by Sangeet Kaur Deo, daughter of late veteran lawyer and politician Karpal Singh, against the CJ's office over alleged interference by the judiciary in the outcome of her father’s sedition case, and how Sangeet is questioning the outcome of the internal probe by the judiciary.
Tengku Maimun said she had written to Sangeet in the middle of last year to inform the latter that she could not head investigations into the issue as she is conflicted, due to the fact that she was part of the Court of Appeal's bench that presided over Karpal's sedition case.
“I passed the task to the then Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Ahmad Ma'arop (to resume the internal probe), but then came the police probe.
“I cannot ask for the probe to be resumed as I am conflicted and it would be up to the police to take further actions. Ahmad is also conflicted, as he sat in on one of the earlier appeals by the prosecution in Karpal's case in 2012,” she said.
Tengku Maimun was one of the judges in Karpal's case when it was at the Court of Appeal stage in 2016, where she dissented with the majority bench and wanted the veteran lawyer to be acquitted of the sedition charge, with regards to the Perak constitutional crisis case.
Sangeet filed the suit against the CJ's office in January last year, following revelations made by Hamid during a law conference in 2018. He then affirmed an affidavit to Sangeet's application and alleged a senior judge had told the bench sitting in Karpal's case, not to give the latter an acquittal.
The appellate court judge also said he was reprimanded by a senior judge for dissenting in the highly-charged M Indira Gandhi case involving the conversion of her children, who were minors.
Until today, Sangeet asks about the outcome of the internal probe by the judiciary, regarding the revelations. While the government said last June that a Royal Commission of Inquiry was being set up to look into the matter, there had been no updates since.
Meanwhile, Tengku Maimum was asked yesterday whether she had received any feedback from the public about graft allegations within the judiciary, and she said the public had written many letters to her but they were not specifically about bribery.
“I receive eight- to 10 letters daily and the allegations are [usually about] one party being unsatisfied with the court's judgment made some 10 years' ago... When I investigate further, there are no allegations of bribery but mostly about the person not being satisfied with the outcome of the judgment,” she said.
She also said she has yet to receive concrete allegations about corruption within the judiciary. She further pledged that should she get any, she would bring the matter up with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).