KOTA KINABALU: Over a hundred lawyers took part in the Justice Walk from the Damai Community Hall to the courthouse here yesterday.

This was done in conjunction with the planned peaceful march to Parliament by the peninsula counterparts to uphold judicial independence.

On May 27, the Bar voted, at an extraordinary general meeting, to hold a peaceful protest to uphold judicial independence and to also condemn an investigation by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) against Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

Sabah Law Society (SLS) president Roger Chin said in respect of the purpose of the walk for justice, the SLS condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the unprecedented manner in which the MACC has publicly announced the commencement of criminal investigation of a superior court judge.

They also condemn the way the MACC disclosed the name of the judge to the public, for an indefinite period and without any proper decision or closure, which is tantamount to an act of intimidation against the judiciary.

“We also condemn, in the strongest possible terms, any interference, whether explicit or otherwise, at all material times, with the independence of the judiciary, and breaches of the fundamental principle of separation of powers,” he said.

Chin said the SLS urge and hope that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob will take into account the aforesaid concerns, condemn the propriety and manner of the investigation commenced by the MACC towards a judge, and will take all measures and reasonable actions available to uphold and protect the independence of the judiciary.

He urged Ismail Sabri to preserve public confidence in the judiciary, including measures of legislative reform so that the parameters and the law on the process of addressing allegations of misconduct against judges are clarified and refined to ensure and preserve the independence of the judiciary system.

Chin added that the SLS recognise that judges are not above the law and must be made accountable if they commit any crimes, and that law enforcement agencies must be allowed to carry out their respective tasks in accordance with the law and the Federal Constitution.

Chin said any complaint against judges and its investigation by law enforcement agencies under the purview of the executive, if given incautious publicity, will have a far-reaching impact on judges in carrying out their duties independently.

He said the judiciary as an institution of great importance of a country, and the judges carrying out their duties, must be protected from intimidation, harassment and frivolous investigation.

Earlier during the march which started around 10.30am, policemen were stationed at the starting point from where the lawyers walked but did not stop them from carrying out their peaceful protest.

Traffic policemen were also present to ensure the safety of road users during the march.