‘TAKE CARE WHAT YOU TELL THE MEDIA‘
Judges should not respond to the media on allegations made against them, says ex-chief justice
AZURA ABAS PUTRAJAYA firstname.lastname@example.org
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