It was an awkward moment as he appeared before a three-member panel headed by Justice Abdul Malik Ishak.
Karpal today asked for Abdul Malik’s (right) recusal in an appeal and cross-appeal over a drug trafficking matter before the court.
“Your lordship, I ask for your lordship Abdul Malik’s recusal from hearing this case following a motion that I filed under Article 127 for a motion of judicial misconduct and a tribunal be set for allegedly plagiarising a judgment written by a Singapore judge.”
Justice Abdul Malik said he had received a directive from the Court of Appeal president Justice Md Raus Sharif to chair the panel.
DPP Kwan Li Sa said the prosecution has faith in the panel.
However, Karpal reminded them that there was a question of perception if Justice Abdul Malik continues to hear the case.
Following this, Justice Abdul Malik decided to recuse himself.
“The case will be heard on Nov 14 before another panel without me,” he said calmly.
Karpal had submitted the motion that was supported by close to 60 Pakatan Rakyat MPs, calling for a tribunal against the judge for alleged plagiarism.
The allegation was first reported in 2000 and created a row between Singapore and Malaysia.
Karpal was representing M Kula Segaran, 34, a labourer who had initially been charged at the Shah Alam High Court with trafficking 12,654.14 grammes of cannabis at a house in Air Hitam, Batu 17½ Puchong about 11.30pm on May 17, 2006.
During the trial, the judge reduced the charge to one of possessing 908 grammes of cannabis at the same place. Kula Segaran was convicted and sentenced to 12 years' jail and ordered to be caned 10 times.
Karpal is appealing the conviction, while the prosecution has filed a cross-appeal to reinstate the trafficking charge, which carries the death penalty upon conviction.
'Pleasantly suprised' by decision
Outside the courtroom today, Karpal said he could not take a risk and had to ask for the recusal.
“I was pleasantly surprised that Justice Abdul Malik has taken it quite well,” he said.
After the proceedings, court staff were seen taking down particulars from Karpal (left) over the recusal application. They asked him what it was about, saying they had to prepare a report.
The allegation against the judge was first reported in 2000 and had created a row between Singapore and Malaysia.
Former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Rais Yatim recently admitted that a complaint had been lodged in 2000, but that he did not the know the outcome as he had left the portfolio in 2004.
Last week, Karpal, the DAP’s Bukit Gelugor MP, submitted the parliamentary motion - supported by close to 60 Pakatan Rakyat MPs - calling for a tribunal against the judge for alleged plagiarism.
Prior to that, he had written to Justice Abdul Malik on Aug 22 and again on Sept 29, informing him of the allegation. As there was no reply, he argued that it amounted to admission of misconduct.
He had also pointed out the judge had, ironically, plagiarised the judgment of former Singapore judge GP Selvam on a copyright issue.
"I am also told that this created an uproar between the judges of Singapore and Malaysia. I was made to understand the Singapore chief justice had also written to our (chief justice) to complain about the matter,” Karpal had said last week.
Since then, he has challenged the judge to file a defamation suit against him if the allegation is not true.
Hakim Abdul Malik undur diri berikutan usul 'plagiat'