Najib’s bid to remove appeals court judge from review panel dismissed

By , in Courts Crime on .

Putrajaya, Jan 19 — The Federal Court has rejected the application to remove Court of Appeal judge Abu Bakar Jais from the panel hearing Najib Razak’s review bid for his conviction and sentence in the RM42 million SRC International case.

The other four judges on the panel today are Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Abdul Rahman Sebli, and Federal Court judges Vernon Ong Lam Kiat, Rhodzariah Bujang and Nordin Hassan.

Abdul Rahman said the court was not persuaded by the argument that Abu Bakar should recuse himself from hearing the review application.

“In our view, the law is clear that the Chief Justice (Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat) is vested with discretionary power to empanel the Court of Appeal judge to sit at the panel of the Federal Court, pursuant to Article 122 (2) of the Federal Constitution.”


“For the same reason, we reject the argument that Abu Bakar should not be involved in the hearing of the review application.”

“Under these circumstances, the preliminary objection is dismissed. We shall proceed to hear the application,” he said.

Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had said that Abu Bakar should not be on the panel which he added should comprise only Federal Court judges, according to Section 74 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1974.

However, lead prosecutor V Sithambaram said that arrangements to co-opt a Court of Appeal judge are allowed under Article 122 (2) of the Federal Constitution.

He also said the objection against the judge must show a real danger of bias. 

Najib is seeking to overturn the decision by a five-man Federal Court bench led by Tengku Maimun on Aug 23 last year, upholding his conviction, 12-year jail sentence and fine for the misappropriation of RM42 million in SRC International funds.


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