KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 5 — The transfer of the Kuala Lumpur High Court judge, who had granted bail to 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) critic Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and his lawyer, to Shah Alam was not a form of punishment, the Chief Justice said today.
Tun Arifin Zakaria told The Star Online that High Court judge Datuk Mohd Azman Husin was transferred to the Shah Alam High Court to speed up the disposal of cases.
“We have almost 400 criminal cases in the Shah Alam High Court. It is not a punishment,” Arifin was quoted saying.
He reportedly said no judges have been transferred to punish them for certain case decisions, when asked to comment on the recent transfer of over 10 judges and judicial commissioners.
“It is nothing abnormal. We need more experienced judges in certain courts to speed up the disposal of cases. It is also because of the elevation of judges to the appellate courts and appointment of judicial commissioners,” he was quoted saying.
Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin told The Star Online that the transfer involved 11 or 13 judges that took effect on January 1, describing it as a normal reshuffle exercise.
“For instance in KL, we have to increase the number of High Court (criminal) judges from three to four to hear and dispose the Islamic State (militant) and security cases. Those security cases have increased and priority have to be given to clear those cases,” he was quoted saying.
Mohd Azman ruled last November that the state sabotage charge against former Umno leader Khairuddin, who has been lodging reports in several countries against state investment firm 1MDB, and his lawyer Matthias Chang, did not fall under the purview of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).
The judge granted the duo bail after they were detained for over a month under the anti-terrorism law.