BACK STATE­MENT WITH FACTS, SAYS OUT­GO­ING CJ

Arifin says for­mer judges must be care­ful when mak­ing state­ments

New Straits Times - - News -

HIDIR REDUAN

AND FAIRUZ MOD SHA­HAR KUANTAN hidirre­d­uan@nst.com.my

OUT­GO­ING Chief Jus­tice Tun Arifin Zakaria has dis­missed as un­founded, and not backed by facts, al­le­ga­tions that the ju­di­ciary was too le­nient on those con­victed of graft and abuse of power.

Arifin said the al­le­ga­tion made by for­mer Court of Ap­peal judge Datuk Mohd Noor Ab­dul­lah was an empty state­ment made with no proper re­search.

“With all due re­spect to him, his state­ment was too gen­eral, with no sta­tis­tics for backup. No par­tic­u­lar cases (to back the state­ment). So one must not make state­ments like that. As a re­tired (Court of Ap­peal) judge or any other judge, any state­ment made must be backed by sta­tis­tics and per­ti­nent cases.

“We should not put much weight (to the al­le­ga­tion). It is akin to empty talk,” he said af­ter launch­ing the sec­ond phase of E-Ke­haki­man at the Kuantan Courts Com­plex here yes­ter­day.

Arifin ex­pressed sur­prise that Noor, who is a mem­ber of the Anti-Cor­rup­tion Ad­vi­sory Board, had is­sued such an al­le­ga­tion be­cause for­mer judges were looked up to by mem­bers of the pub­lic.

“For­mer judges must be care­ful when mak­ing state­ments as they are looked at highly by oth­ers. Peo­ple take their (the for­mer judges) words se­ri­ously. This is un­fair to the ju­di­ciary,” said Arifin, adding that Noor should have made an in­depth re­search in­stead of mak­ing the un­founded state­ment.

He re­minded Noor that when judges spoke, their words were backed by facts.

“We ( judges) do not just talk, gen­er­ally. We do not cakap kosong (empty talk). I ex­pect a for­mer judge to do the same. I am sorry that that is not hap­pen­ing.”

At­tor­ney-Gen­eral (A-G) Tan Sri Mo­hamed Apandi Ali also echoed Arifin’s re­marks and said it was un­fair to say judges were be­ing too le­nient against graft of­fend­ers.

He said every judge was car­ry­ing out his du­ties ac­cord­ing to the law, and each of­fence came with dif­fer­ent pun­ish­ments.

“The tri­als for cor­rup­tion cases are nor­mally held at Ses­sion Courts and judges at these courts are ex­pe­ri­enced. As A-G, as long as the sen­tences are in ac­cor­dance with the pro­vi­sions, then for me, it should be no prob­lem. It is not fair to say all judges are le­nient in han­dling cor­rup­tion cases,” he told the New Straits Times.

On Tues­day, Noor was quoted as say­ing that sen­tences meted out to those found guilty of cor­rup­tion did not com­men­su­rate with the crime.

Noor said that judges not only handed down fines that paled in com­par­i­son with the amount of cor­rup­tion in­volved, but also tended to fine of­fend­ers rather than jail them. Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Hashini Kav­ishtri Kan­nan

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