Malaysian Bar agrees to hold peaceful protest by lawyers to uphold judiciary’s independence, condemn MACC probe on judge

Malaysian Bar president Karen Cheah Yee Lynn (2nd right) speaks during a press conference in Wisma MCA, Kuala Lumpur May 27, 2022. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

By Ida Lim,Rex Tan

Friday, 27 May 2022 7:30 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 — The Malaysian Bar today voted to hold a peaceful protest to uphold judicial independence, and to also condemn the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) recent controversial investigation into judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

Malaysian Bar president Karen Cheah Yee Lynn said today that an overwhelming majority of the lawyers who had attended the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) agreed to the peaceful protest.

“We will be carrying out some of the steps contained in this resolution, including having a walk or peaceful protest,” the Bar Council chairman told reporters here after the Malaysian Bar concluded its EGM.

Mohd Nazlan is the trial judge who heard former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s case of RM42 million misappropriated from SRC International Sdn Bhd at the High Court and is now a Court of Appeal judge.

The EGM’s first resolution was the Malaysian Bar’s condemnation of the unprecedented way in which the MACC had publicly announced the launch of criminal investigations into a judge from the superior court (referring to High Court, Court of Appeal, Federal Court) for an indefinite period and without proper closure, as well as for publicly disclosing the judge’s name, which it said amounts to an act of intimidation against the judiciary.

The second resolution made was the Malaysian Bar’s condemnation in the strongest possible terms of any interference at any time with the independence of the judiciary, and breaches of the fundamental principle of separation of powers.

The third resolution made was for the Malaysian Bar to take immediate and necessary steps to organise and lead a peaceful protest. This resolution stated that the time and venue of the peaceful protest will be for the Bar Council to decide.

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As part of the third resolution, the Malaysian Bar members also agreed for other steps — which the Bar Council deems appropriate — to be taken, which may include challenging the propriety and the way the MACC started its investigations into Nazlan or to also advocate reforms to laws to protect the judiciary’s independence and to uphold public confidence in the judiciary.

In the fourth resolution which was approved, the Malaysian Bar called on the attorney general — as the guardian of public interest — to take all necessary steps to protect the institution of the judiciary and the sacrosanct principle of the judiciary’s independence from such intimidation and interference.

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