Judge in Najib’s case transferred back to civil court
Hidir Reduan Abdul Rashid
Published 23 Jan 2021, 8:22 am
Editor’s note: This story has been amended to reflect that Nazlan was originally in the civil courts and has been transferred back.
Six months after making history in convicting former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali has been transferred from the Kuala Lumpur criminal court back to the civil court.
In a circular issued by the Bar Council to all members of the Bar yesterday, Chief Judge of Malaya Azahar Mohamed directed the transfer of Nazlan from the Kuala Lumpur High Court (Criminal 3) to Kuala Lumpur High Court (NCvC 2), effective March 1.
“The Chief Judge of Malaya, Azahar Mohamed, has extended to us a copy of a directive for change (pertukaran) His Honorable Judge of the High Court of Malaya Bil 2/2021.
“Please be informed that the following placement will take effect on March 1, 2021 (Monday),” the circular by Malaysian Bar secretary AG Kalidas read, referring to Nazlan.
In July 2018, Nazlan was transferred from the commercial court to the criminal court to preside over Najib’s RM42 million SRC International corruption case. He took over from the previous judge, Mohd Sofian Abd Razak. The commercial courts are part of the wider civil courts system.
A senior member of the Bar, Syed Iskandar Syed Jaafar confirmed that he had received the circular.
The lawyer said the transfer in light of Nazlan’s role in presiding over Najib’s corruption trial would raise eyebrows.
According to Syed Iskandar, the transfer could possibly make the public question whether the independence of the judiciary is truly being upheld.
“It is strange for such a transfer to only involve a single judge. We should have instead been on the path to independence of the judiciary with Nazlan’s brave decision,” he said.
When contacted by Malaysiakini, lawyer Chan Yen Hui also confirmed the circular.
Other high-profile cases
Nazlan still has a few other high-profile criminal cases that he has yet to conclude hearing prior to the March 1 transfer.
Another 1MDB-linked case that is pending before Nazlan’s criminal court is the government’s US$340 million forfeiture suit against PetroSaudi International Limited and four others.
Outside of 1MDB-linked matters, Nazlan is also set to deliver on Feb 3 his end-of-defence decision of former Felda chairperson Mohd Isa Samad’s corruption case linked to the purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites (MPHS) by Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FICSB).
Nazlan has also granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) to former federal territories minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor on Dec 7 last year in the accused’s RM1 million corruption case after an appeal from the prosecutors who cited that new developments in the case warranted further investigation.
However, two weeks later, Tengku Adnan was found guilty on a separate RM2 million graft charge by another High Court judge, Mohamed Zaini Mazlan, and was sentenced to 12 months’ jail and a fine of RM2 million. Tengku Adnan has since filed an appeal against the decision.
According to judiciary portal kehakiman.gov.my, Nazlan was appointed judicial commissioner on April 10, 2015, and later elevated as High Court judge on Jan 30, 2017.