BACK STATEMENT WITH FACTS, SAYS OUTGOING CJ
Arifin says former judges must be careful when making statements
AND FAIRUZ MOD SHAHAR KUANTAN email@example.com
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