The Malaysian Bar has warned against any move to undermine the judicial process following signs that Umno leaders are pressing ahead with a campaign to re-open the corruption trial of jailed former prime minister Najib Razak, who is currently serving a 12-year sentence over his SRC International case.
Bar president Karen Cheah Yee Lynn said the former prime minister had been given all opportunities to defend himself through the legal system.
"We cannot have the judiciary's final decision, made at the apex court in August 2022, continuously questioned just to fulfil the agenda of specific political parties," she told MalaysiaNow.
She was asked for a response to a call by Umno Supreme Council member Puad Zarkashi to press Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's government to bring charges against Nazlan Ghazali, the former High Court judge who convicted Najib and sentenced him to 12 years' imprisonment, in a decision upheld by both the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court.
Najib started serving his sentence in August after failing in his final appeal at the apex court.
Lawyers for the former leader had then accused judge Nazlan of conflict of interest owing to his past involvement with Maybank. But the argument was dismissed by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, who led the panel of judges hearing Najib's final appeal.
Cheah said the Bar maintained its view that politicians should refrain from commenting on the trial, saying this undermined the rule of law and amounted an attack on the judiciary, after several top Umno leaders including current Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi criticised the Federal Court's decision not to allow Najib to adduce additional evidence.
"We take the view that these are part of the last-ditch attempts to stall the appeal," she said.
"The judiciary has made a final decision and we should respect that decision. Any attempts by political parties now to keep harping and to change the narrative that the former PM was not given a fair trial should immediately cease."
Earlier today, Puad said Umno should continue to press for a "free trial" for Najib, as well as investigations into judge Nazlan, former attorney-general Tommy Thomas and former central bank governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz.
Puad hinted that these calls by Umno would be discussed by party leaders at their first meeting tonight since collaborating with Pakatan Harapan (PH) to form the government.
Puad's call came hours after Najib's daughter Yana Najib claimed that her father might soon be released.
Referring to a judicial review of the Federal Court decision scheduled for next month, Yana expressed confidence that her father would be freed.
"We still have one last chance. So we hide the scars, stitch up our wounds and get back on our feet.
"All hands on deck to ensure DSN (Najib) will get justice this time. If DSN wins in January, he will be free to come back to us, insha Allah," she added.