The Malaysian Bar has urged the High Court judge in former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak's criminal cases to recuse himself from further hearing the case.
In a statement today, Bar president George Varughese said this is in light of reports that the judge, Mohd Sofian Abd Razak (above), is the younger brother of Pahang state executive councillor and Benta Umno state assemblyperson Mohd Soffi Abdul Razak.
"The rule of law demands that justice must not only be done but it must manifestly be seen to be done.
"Given that the former prime minister was until recently the president of Umno and chairperson of BN, the judge ought to have disclosed to the prosecution and the defence, prior to the hearing yesterday, this relationship and about the latter's position in Umno and the Pahang state government.
"The Malaysian Bar believes that such a disclosure by the judge is necessary to preserve the integrity of the proceedings before him and to avoid any real danger of bias.
“The judge's failure to do so has unfortunately raised serious questions about the propriety of him continuing to preside over the case," said Varughese.
Earlier today, attorney-general Tommy Thomas was reported saying that he was unaware that Sofian was related to a top Umno figure.
Thomas led the prosecution team when Najib was charged yesterday with criminal breach of trust and abuse of power in regards to the RM42 million, purportedly from SRC International, found in his personal account.