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Najib’s guilty verdict upheld: What will happen to Judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil?

Najib's case must be put on the fast lane to avoid any long delay

Judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil's courageous decision

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In hearing the news that the Court of Appeal had upheld the High Court’s guilty verdict in Najib Razak’s corruption trial, my immediate concern was for Judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil. The guilty verdict that was confirmed called for the highest integrity and courage, which all three judges displayed so admirably, winning our applause.

Why then the concern for Judge Karim?

We are reminded of another judge, none other than High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, who had on 28 July 2020, living up to the expectations of the judiciary, found Najib guilty of all seven charges of corruption – one count of abuse of power, three counts of criminal breach of trust and three counts of money laundering – involving RM42m of funds from SRC International.

Soon after Judge Nazlan pronounced the guilty verdict, he was transferred from the Criminal Division to the Commercial Division.

There were a lot of allegations against him, vilifying him for his purported lack of experience and incompetence in criminal matters. In upholding his verdict, the Court of Appeal has exonerated him and confirmed his competence as a judge in criminal matters.

An appeal to the Federal Court has been granted – which, in all probability, is expected to cause unnecessary delay, thus keeping Najib from going to prison for as long as possible. We hope this will not drag on for another one-and-a-half years.

Going to the Federal Court would mean that the apex court has to be convinced that points of law have been flouted in Najib’s trial.

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But reading through the Court of Appeal’s grounds for upholding the High Court decision will convince many that the evidence and the law have been applied judiciously in finding Najib guilty.

Many Malaysians are wondering whether Judge Nazlan will be transferred back to the Criminal Division. That would be the decent thing to do to remove the unproven, unfair allegations which were hurled at him for his verdict.

His transfer itself was viewed, rightly or wrongly, by many Malaysians as punishment for finding Najib guilty. To right the perceived wrong, Judge Nazlan should be reappointed to the Criminal Division, where he will serve courageously and with integrity.

And to remove any perceived executive interference in matters of the judiciary, Judge Karim should continue to serve in the Criminal Division, where he is suitably qualified to render his service.

Coming back to Najib’s appeal to the Federal Court, the case must be put on the fast lane to avoid any long delay so that it can be concluded as soon as possible. There is a need to expeditiously punish those who have stolen from public coffers and recover whatever part of the loot that is possible.

It was not for nothing that the lionised English writer Walter Savage Landor said, “Delayed justice is as bad as injustice.”

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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Mad jeps
Mad jeps
14 Dec 2021 6.10am

The Judges has done their duty.Salute

John Abraham
John Abraham
12 Dec 2021 9.07am

What an extreme difference in character compared to his late father

Angeline Loh
11 Dec 2021 1.51pm

The decision by the Appeal Court is not made by one judge but by 3 to 5 high ranking judges. Just because Judge Karim delivered the judgment doesn’t mean the decision is his alone. We should be concerned for all the other CA judges who gave opinions in support of the High Court judgment and encourage the judiciary to reclaim their independence. Otherwise, justice will always elude us at some stage. This is unacceptable and responsible citizens have to make their indignation heard far and wide by the world.

10 Dec 2021 11.44am

The real test of judicial independence is when judges resist any attempt by higher-ups and political power holders to influence their decisions. Did the judges face this test and pass it in the instant case? Political interference is more likely — because more crucial — in the final appeal to the Federal Court. A string of recent court decisions reflect the state of our judiciary and remind us not to be over-sanguine. “It ain’t over ‘til its over.”

Khoo Soo Hay
Khoo Soo Hay
10 Dec 2021 9.31am

Get rid of political crooks who are corrupted!

9 Dec 2021 10.03pm

Good job! Btw, other than the judge, what will happen to Ramakrishnan?

9 Dec 2021 4.57pm

Bold. Concise. Fair. Rama, consistently in touch with national development as a concerned citizen and decent human being with a world view of earth as home for all living beings. Your affirmative support of the integrity and justice system in the persons appointed to administer due diligence, demonstrates the behaviour of a nurturing citizen. As a parent and an educator, I thank you for speaking out so forthrightly. Our community needs individuals with common sense and decency to raise our young in a safe and just environment. Thank you and our responsible and courageous judges.

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