‘Judges too le­nient with graft of­fend­ers’

New Straits Times - - News -

KUALA LUMPUR: A re­tired top judge yes­ter­day crit­i­cised to­day’s ju­di­ciary, say­ing that it was of­ten too le­nient on those found guilty of graft and abuse of power.

For­mer Court of Ap­peals judge Datuk Mohd Noor Ab­dul­lah, who is now a mem­ber of the Anti-Cor­rup­tion Ad­vi­sory Board (ACAB), said sen­tences meted out to those found guilty of cor­rup­tion did not com­men­su­rate with the crime.

“Cor­rup­tion cases (nor­mally) in­volves a large amount of money. How­ever, the fine meted out by the judge is too lit­tle com­pared with the amount in­volved.

“What’s hap­pen­ing to our judges? They should send the of­fend­ers to jail in­stead of just giv­ing them a fine only. The pun­ish­ment does not com­men­su­rate with the crime,” he said here yes­ter­day.

Noor said he be­lieved the judges to be in­de­pen­dent and un­bi­ased in met­ing out sen­tences, but said they were likely tak­ing the mid­dle ground ac­cord­ing to ar­gu­ments by the pros­e­cu­tion and de­fence.

“The (de­fence) coun­sel may ar­gue for a light sen­tence... say­ing, for ex­am­ple, the ac­cused is a 24-year-old man and sup­port­ing his 70-year-old fa­ther and for the court to have pity. The DPP (deputy public pros­e­cu­tor) then says, ‘I leave it to you sir ( judge)’. Where is the fight? DPP should ques­tion for proof,” he said.

Noor said judges had the ten­dency of hand­ing down a lighter sen­tence when pre­sented with such mit­i­gat­ing fac­tors with­out fur­ther ar­gu­ments from DPP.

“When you deal with cor­rupted peo­ple or crim­i­nals, you must be harsh with them. If we want to live in a peace­ful so­ci­ety, we must elim­i­nate crim­i­nals,” he said.

In Ipoh, Trans­parency In­ter­na­tional Malaysia pres­i­dent Datuk Akhbar Satar said ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions should carry out a study to iden­tify the root causes of cor­rup­tion as the num­ber of youth in­volved in such ac­tiv­i­ties was in­creas­ing.

He said Malaysia was not han­dling cor­rup­tion is­sues se­ri­ously as there was no sci­en­tific re­search on the mat­ter.

“By hav­ing an out­come or re­sult from the study, we can iden­tify the causes of this prob­lem.”

Datuk Mohd Noor Ab­dul­lah

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