What is it?
Organised by the Malaysian Bar, it was originally intended to be a march to Parliament on the 17th of June. However, the police disallowed the march. As such, the peaceful protest was held at Padang Merbok, beginning at 10am on Friday, with police agreeing to facilitate the gathering but not the walk to Parliament where Deputy de facto Law Minister Datuk Wira Mas Ermieyanti Shamsudin is expected to receive as memorandum from the Bar on behalf of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Objective of this Peaceful Protest
To protest (peacefully) in the name judicial independence and to speak out against attempts to intimidate any judges. The Bar also plans to present a memorandum addressed to the prime minister on the matter.
Catalyst to the Protest
SRC International Sdn Bhd trial judge Justice Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, who had earlier this year been elevated to the Court of Appeal, was investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (“MACC”). The probe was launched against him as it was alleged that he:
(1) failed to declare his interests
(2) knew something related to SRC International when he was with Maybank
(3) had unexplained money in his account.
The MACC probe was completed last month and he subsequently lodged a police report denying such allegations. The judiciary had also made a report against this.
It should be noted that Justice Mohd Nazlan had found former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak guilty on all seven counts in relation to abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering of SRC funds. This resulted in a sentence of 12 years imprisonment and a fine of RM210 million. Najib’s conviction and sentence was unanimously upheld by a three-member Court of Appeal bench last December with the final appeal scheduled to be heard around the middle August, 2022. He will have to serve his sentence and lose his eligibility as an MP unless he is able to set-aside the conviction and sentence at the apex court.
In light of the investigation, the Malaysian Bar has stepped in to help protect the dignity and integrity of the courts that are unable to defend themselves publicly against wild allegations. Thus, the peaceful protest follows a resolution entitled “Resolution on Upholding and Protecting the Independence of the Judiciary and the Preservation of Public Confidence in the Judiciary” at the Malaysian Bar extraordinary general meeting held last May 27.