‘Judges too lenient with graft offenders’
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