KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) today insisted that judges in the country too fall under the jurisdiction of civil servants and the regulating body has the power to investigate them for any alleged abuse of power.
This was following the mounting criticism over the probe into Court of Appeal judge Datuk Nazlan Mohd Ghazali’s alleged corruption recently that has sparked debate among lawmakers and also the law fraternity.
In a statement, the MACC said that it has been given the power to investigate such allegations under the MACC Act 2009, including “officers of a public body” as defined in Section 3 of the Act.
The Act reads: “an officer of a public body means any person who is a member, an officer, an employee or a servant of a public body, and includes a member of the administration, a member of Parliament, a member of a State Legislative Assembly, a judge of the High Court, Court of Appeal or Federal Court, and any person receiving any remuneration from public funds, and, where the public body is a corporation sole, includes the person who is incorporated as such”.
The MACC also pointed out that it had investigated other judges in the past with their investigation papers sent to the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) and insisted it was normal practice.
“In line with the principle of the separation of powers, after all probes are completed, investigation papers are referred to the AGC to decide whether to prosecute or not,” it said.
The MACC said three reports were filed over Nazlan’s case — on March 15 as well as April 23 and 27 — and maintained that its probe was still at an early stage.
“When an investigation is initiated against any individual, it does not mean that the said individual has committed an offence. With that, the MACC asks the public to allow the investigation to be conducted,” it said.
The Malaysian Bar on Tuesday had also said that the MACC’s investigation against Nazlan was unconstitutional.
Its president, Karen Cheah Yee Lynn, said that the probe violated the doctrine of the separation of powers and also undermined the independence of the judiciary.
Nazlan lodged a police report last week over a news article alleging that he was being investigated for unexplained money in his bank account.
Nazlan was the trial judge who convicted and sentenced former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on seven charges relating to RM42 million in funds belonging to SRC International.
Last December, the Court of Appeal upheld the conviction. An appeal against the conviction is pending before the Federal Court.