Possible judicial meddling in redelineation challenges - Bersih

Modified 17 Feb 2019, 3:32 pm

Electoral reform group said the allegations of judicial corruption and interferences by a Court of Appeal judge has added to suspicions that it had also affected the challenges against the EC's redelineation exercise before the last general election.

The Bersih steering committee said legal challenges by voters in Perak, Malacca, Johor and Selangor were thrown out despite strong constitutional grounds and evidence of malapportionment, gerrymandering and electoral irregularities.

"When the redelineation cases went up to the appeal courts, there was always a special panel which heard them and they were often the same judges and the outcomes were always the same, rejection of the appeals.

"These legal challenges were disposed of speedily as if to ensure that the EC's recommendations would be in time for the 14th general election.

"Though we do not have concrete proof, these are patterns which raise reasonable suspicions of judicial interference at the highest level," it said in a press statement today.

The Bersih steering committee said while it applauded remedial action taken by the new Pakatan Harapan government including removing the prime minister's influence in selecting members of the Judicial Appointments Commission in favour of a parliamentary select committee, misconducts of previous judges must still be investigated.

This would also allow gross miscarriages of justice in cases heard by them to be reviewed in order to restore justice and confidence in the judiciary.

Bersih was responding to an affidavit filed by Court of Appeal judge Hamid Sultan Abu Backer in support of lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo's suit seeking a declaration that the previous chief justice had failed to uphold judicial integrity and stop judicial interference.

Hamid Sultan (above) had alleged that corruption and judicial interference had been perpetrated by top judges in favour of the previous government.

Bersih, in its statement, backed Hamid Sultan's call for a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) to look into the allegations.

"Failure on the part of the Harapan government to form an RCI to look into judicial interference would not only undermine confidence in the judiciary but also in the Harapan government's commitment to justice and the rule of law," it said.

Bersih also urged other judges to come forward as witnesses.

"Bersih also calls on more judges and other witnesses to come forward to provide evidence of judicial interference they have encountered and for the government to accord protection to these informants under the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010, where their identity will be kept confidential if necessary, their complaints investigated and actions taken against those who had abused their positions," it said.

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