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Malaysia to set up inquiry into apex court misconduct claims: Report

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Judge alleges scams between certain judges and private litigants to cheat govt

PETALING JAYA The Cabinet has agreed to form a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) over recent allegations of judicial misconduct in Malaysia's apex court.

A source told The Star the issue was discussed in the Cabinet meeting yesterday and it was agreed that the RCI would be formed.

On Feb 14, Court of Appeal judge Hamid Sultan Abu Backer alleged in court papers that there were scams between certain top judges and private litigants to cheat the government.

This was contained in an affidavit filed in support of an application by Ms Sangeet Kaur Deo, daughter of the late lawyer Karpal Singh.

In his affidavit, the judge alleged much impropriety within the judiciary.

He claimed a top judge, whom he referred to as "ARLC", became a sort of a "maharajalela" (executioner) dictating what judges should do and write, reported The Star.

ARLC, Judge Hamid Sultan said, stood for "Antagonist of Rule of Law and Constitution".

He cited a few instances where he and fellow judges were harassed and threatened by ARLC to influence their decisions in courts.

The judge also claimed scams were carried out by nominees of politicians getting into contracts with the government, but once the government pulled out, the private parties would take the government to court to claim compensation.

He claimed the apex court was perceived to be sympathetic to them.

The judge said he would "tell all" in an RCI.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had earlier said the government would consider the need for an RCI after the Malaysian Bar Association, several prominent members of the legal fraternity and politicians lobbied for it.

Last Friday, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said investigators were to meet the judge.

MACC deputy chief commissioner of operations Azam Baki said the meeting would help determine if there is a case for the commission to investigate, The Star reported.

Asked if the MACC would investigate the matter, Mr Azam said his officers could only ascertain this after meeting the judge.

The Star reported on Saturday that former Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasen said that while the RCI must be held in such a manner that did not undermine the judiciary, it was important to investigate the matters raised in the affidavit.

She said an RCI was pertinent as the sworn affidavit by Judge Hamid Sultan disclosed disturbing matters that warranted a full investigation.

"An RCI is called for, or at the very least, a special inquiry. The institution of the judiciary and its independence is vital to the lifeblood of the nation and its democracy.

"This is why it is important to address the matters raised in the affidavit.

"This (should be done) in a fair manner that also vindicates the many who carry out their judicial functions with integrity," said Ms Ambiga, adding the RCI should consist of former senior and respected judges, at least one representative of the Bar and a layman.