High Court Judge, Mohamed Zaini Mazlan who convicted Datin Seri Rosmah of three counts of charges in relation to corruption was appointed to the judiciary during former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s era in power.
According to the website of the office of the Chief Registrar of the Federal Court, Zaini was appointed as a judicial commissioner on the 4th of August 2014.
On the 30th of January 2017, slightly more than two years later, he was elevated as a High Court judge.
As such, Zaini’s entire career in the judicial system happened when Najib was in power as Prime Minister while Rosmah was ‘First Lady of Malaysia’.
Zaini who was born on the 24th of October 1967 began his legal career with Messrs Lee Hishamuddin in 1994.
He went on to become a partner at Messrs Gideon Tan, Razali and Zaini (GTRZ) in 1995, before establishing Messrs Zaini Mazlan in 2008.
According to the Malaysian Judiciary, Zaini had 18 years of legal experience, specialising in company, aviation, intellectual property, banking, finance, negligence, contract and land law before being appointed in 2014.
In delivering his judgment on Thursday, Zaini said that his duty as a judge was not to be popular, but to dispense justice.
“We are not out here to be popular or make popular decisions. We are here to dispense justice… Whatever feelings, we leave it at the door step before sitting on the bench.”
Rosmah’s defence team had earlier on seeked to recuse the Zaini on grounds of impartiality, following fugitive blogger, Raja Petra Kamaruddin’s allegations that the judgment in Rosmah’s corruption trial had been prepared by a third party and not the judge.
To that, Zaini said that he had written more than 200 judgments over the years and they have all been prepared by himself.
“Sorry to keep everyone waiting. I couldn’t find anyone to write my judgment, so I had to write my own. I hope the research division will forgive me for saying this. But I did not read their opinion. I did my own research and was assisted by counsel in this case through their well written submissions.”
“Truth be told, I have always done my own work, as laborious as it is. Anyone can form their own opinion, but the only opinion that matters is my own.”
“I have done my research. I have written 200 judgments to date, and I wrote all of them. Many do not realise how difficult my job is. I have no prejudice against her (Rosmah),” he said.
In his 116-page judgment, Zaini added that corruption must be curtailed before it becomes a pandemic.
“Corruption has reached almost every level of society. It must be curtailed before it becomes a pandemic. If corruption is left unbridled, our society will come to accept it as a way of life or business.”
He explained that 10 years imprisonment and RM970 million fine imposed on Rosmah is a reflection of the society’s disapproval of the crime and should serve as a deterrent to others.
“The sentence must reflect society’s disapproval or revulsion of the crime. The sentence must also reflect the gravity of the offence committed. It should also serve as a deterrent to the accused and others from committing a crime of this nature.”
Rosmah is set to join her husband, Najib in prison unless she succeeds in appealing the decision.
A stay of execution had been granted by Zaini, pending Rosmah’s appeal.
Najib became the country’s first former Prime Minister to be sent to jail last week, after the Federal Court affirmed his conviction and sentence in the SRC International case.
His supporters have argued that it was injustice, as the Chief Justice leading the bench was appointed during Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s era as Prime Minister.
Rosmah, the former FLOM was charged in 2018 for soliciting RM187.5 million from former Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director, Saidi Abang Samsudin through her former aide, Rizal Mansor, as an inducement to help the company secure the billion-ringgit solar project.
She was also charged with two counts of receiving bribes amounting to RM5 million and RM1.5 million from Saidi at Seri Perdana, Putrajaya on 20 December 2016 and at Jalan Langgak Duta on 7 September 2017 respectively.