‘TAKE CARE WHAT YOU TELL THE ME­DIA‘

Judges should not re­spond to the me­dia on al­le­ga­tions made against them, says ex-chief jus­tice

New Straits Times - - News -

AZURA ABAS PUTRAJAYA news@nst.com.my

FOR­MER chief jus­tice Tun Zaki Azmi has urged judges to be care­ful with what they tell the me­dia. Yes­ter­day, he said judges were not sup­posed to re­spond to the me­dia when al­le­ga­tions were made against them.

“But some­times, re­spond they must. Some­times when judges have ideas about the law, they ex­press their views in lec­tures and speeches, (but it must be done) with a caveat that their opin­ions may not be in­voked in any judg­ment they may de­liver, as it would de­pend on the facts and cir­cum­stances of cases.

“I be­lieve when you come out with state­ments in the me­dia on rare oc­ca­sions, you tend to bring more at­ten­tion to the state­ments that you make. Peo­ple tend to fo­cus on you on these rare oc­ca­sions,” he said with­out cit­ing spe­cific ex­am­ples.

On Tues­day, for­mer Court of Ap­peal judge Datuk Mohd Noor Ab­dul­lah said sen­tences meted out to those found guilty of cor­rup­tion did not com­men­su­rate with the crime.

On writ­ing good sub­mis­sions, Zaki said this was im­por­tant for lawyers who want to be judges.

“For those whose am­bi­tion is to be­come a judge, writ­ing good sub­mis­sions and speeches for the court will be a form of train­ing to write good grounds of judg­ment,” he said at the launch of the book, A Mat­ter of Jus­tice: Se­lected Ar­ti­cles and Speeches of Tun Arifin Zakaria.

How­ever, he said, bad sub­mis­sions could do harm.

“Any writ­ing that is dense, im­pen­e­tra­ble, lacking co­he­sion or badly struc­tured will of course be coun­ter­pro­duc­tive. The lawyer would have wasted his op­por­tu­nity to per­suade the reader to think in his way.”

Later, out­go­ing Chief Jus­tice Tun Arifin Zakaria thanked the Ju­di­cial Ap­point­ments Com­mis­sion for or­gan­is­ing a farewell lunch for his re­tire­ment. He will clock out to­day.

He told those present to have a pos­i­tive out­look in life and pledged his con­tin­u­ous sup­port to the ju­di­ciary. He ex­pressed hope that the book, com­pris­ing a col­lec­tion of his ar­ti­cles and speeches, would ben­e­fit oth­ers.

Court of Ap­peal president Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif said the book was a tes­ti­mony of Arifin’s “mas­ter­ful” abil­ity to ex­press com­plex is­sues with sim­plic­ity and clar­ity.

“I have no doubt his­tory will judge Arifin as one of the na­tion’s tow­er­ing per­son­al­i­ties. I hope the speeches and ar­ti­cles in this book will con­tinue to ex­er­cise the minds of all stake­hold­ers in the le­gal and ju­di­cial community.”

Tun Zaki Azmi

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