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4:03pm 02/09/2022
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Bring the ‘verdict leak’ culprit to book
By:Sin Chew Daily

Last month, Najib Razak’s final appeal against his conviction ruling in the SRC International money laundering case was rejected by the Federal Court. As a result, the former prime minister had to be sent to jail immediately.

Soon afterward, public attention was turned to the Sarawak school solar project graft trial involving his wife Rosmah Mansor, of which a verdict was to be made on Thursday.

Nevertheless, on the eve of the judgment day, Rosmah sought to recuse High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan from hearing the case citing a leak of her guilty verdict.

Mohamed Zaini made it very clear that there wasn’t any draft judgment and that he did not make his judgment on the basis of the draft. He said he did his own research assisted by counsel in this case, and that he wrote his judgment himself.

The judge’s remark blocked any attempt to recuse the judge on purported leak of draft judgment paper, which is easily understandable given that judicial proceedings must never be swayed by any so-called “verdict leak” from unidentified sources circulating on social media in this information age whereby the spread of lies is extremely convenient and easy.

The judge handed down the verdict after rejecting the defense team’s recusal application that Rosmah was guilty of all the three charges and was sentenced to ten years in jail and a fine of RM970 million.

Rosmah’s case is not yet close. Theoretically she has two more chances to file her appeal, but what draws our attention is the so-called leak of draft judgment before the court’s verdict was made, the second such leak in recent weeks.

It is apparent that the hidden hands behind the leaked verdict have the ill motive of undermining the integrity of the country’s judicial institution, and in no way should the authorities allow such people to have their way!

Before the Federal Court made its decision on Najib’s final appeal against his SRC conviction, Malaysia Today published a document claimed to be the court “judgment.”

The Federal Court Chief Registrar’s Office later clarified that the so-called “judgment” published on Malaysia Today was merely a tempered version of a draft judgment yet to be finalized.

Upon receiving the complaint, the police started investigating the claimed judgment leak citing Penal Code Section 203A (on the disclosure of information obtained by a public servant in the performance of his duties or the exercise of his functions), Section 233A of the Communications and Multimedia Act, and Section 8 of the Official Secrets Act.

But before an investigation outcome was made available, another alleged leak of judgment paper, this time in Rosmah’s case, came into being. Malaysia Today revealed a 71-page document that Rosmah would be convicted on September 1.

What deserves some contemplation is why the two so-called judgment leaks were “exposed” by Malaysia Today? How on earth did they manage to get hold of such documents? What was Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra’s role in this whole thing?

Whether the “leaked” judgment papers were genuine or fake, such incident must never be taken lightly and the authorities must take prompt action to safeguard the judicial institution’s integrity and image.

Even though in the case of Najib’s final appeal the leaked document was only a draft, it nevertheless means that some insider with access to the document could have leaked it out. The question now is who did that and who was the mastermind behind this whole thing. It is imperative that the police conduct a thorough probe to bring the culprit to book.

The country’s judicial institution suffered a major setback in the 1988 crisis during Mahathir’s time, and the V.K. Lingam incident in 2000 dealt a further blow on the already eroded credibility of the country’s judiciary.

After years of unrelenting effort on the part of the judiciary as well as rigorous political oversight, public faith has gradually returned, and we must not allow any irresponsible quarter to once again undermine the image of the country’s judiciary.

It is apparent that the hidden hands behind the leaked verdict have the ill motive of undermining the integrity of the country’s judicial institution, and in no way should the authorities allow such people to have their way!

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Najib Razak
SRC International
rosmah mansor

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