© Free Malaysia Today (used with permission)
FMT Reporters -February 3, 2021
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Bar tonight expressed concern that a senior judge who has been asked to appear before the Judges’ Ethics Committee tomorrow is facing the prospect of a denial of justice.
Its president Salim Bashir hoped senior Court of Appeal judge Hamid Sultan Abu Backer would be allowed a stay of proceeding by the Court of Appeal pending the disposal of his two appeals.
“The rules of natural justice, which include the right to be heard, must be given to any litigant,” Salim told FMT.
He said some of the issues raised by Hamid’s legal challenge in the judicial review proceeding and originating summons were matters of importance in the sphere of public law.
“One is whether a judgment he delivered in June can be subject to the disciplinary committee,” he said.
Salim said under ordinary circumstances, any error of law in a judgment would be resolved and rectified at the appellate level.
He said this in response to the decision of a deputy registrar of the Court of Appeal late this evening to fix Hamid’s stay application for Friday.
The ethics committee had asked Hamid to appear before it tomorrow at 3pm over an explosive affidavit and the judgment.
Lawyer Wilson Joy Appukuttan, a member of Hamid’s legal team, said earlier today that he would be reaching out to Court of Appeal president Rohana Yusuf tomorrow morning to assemble a bench to hear the stay application.
Yesterday, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur dismissed Hamid’s application for a stay, saying there were no special circumstances to grant it.
Wilson said he filed a fresh motion (for the stay) with a certificate of urgency at the Court of Appeal yesterday evening.
Deputy registrar Radzilawatee Abdul Rahman could only fix Friday for hearing as the Attorney-General’s Chambers needed time to reply to Hamid’s affidavits while the judges needed to be given the opportunity to read the cause papers.
Last month, High Court Judge Mariana Yahya dismissed Hamid’s leave application for judicial review on the affidavit and the judgment.
She also allowed the committee’s application to strike out Hamid’s originating summons, which is closely tied to the remedy sought in the judicial review application.
In the judicial review matter, Hamid wants a declaration that the in-camera proceeding of the committee is against the rules of natural justice, irrational and unconstitutional.
As for the originating summons, Hamid is seeking a direction in relation to the affidavit and judgment he delivered in a criminal appeal case.
Three years ago, Hamid alleged there had been judicial interference in several high-profile cases.
In the judgment, among others, Hamid said the judiciary was expected to act as a check and balance on the executive and legislature, as provided for under the constitution.
Hamid was issued a show cause notice by the committee last August.