PETALING JAYA: The power of the Prime Minister to influence the appointment of judges has to stop or be removed.
Former Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) president and criminologist Datuk Seri Akhbar Satar said today that the government’s promise in its manifesto should be honoured in order to restore public trust and confidence in the judicial and legal institutions.
“If impunity is not abolished, all efforts to bring an end to corruption in Malaysia will be in vain. The Pakatan Harapan government has to ensure the appointment of judges are based on integrity, merit and experience regardless of political interests,“ he told theSun.
Akhbar said a third of Malaysians perceive judges and magistrates are involved in corruption according to findings of TI’s General Corruption Barometer two years ago.
He said it was only natural for such perception to seep into the minds of Malaysians as there have been cases of judges being held or found guilty of being on the take including a recent case of a sessions court judge and a deputy public prosecutor being nabbed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in Kuala Kubu Baru for allegedly taking kickbacks to free detained illegal immigrants.
“The judicial and legal institutions are an important check and balance in the country. These institutions should be independent from other branches of the government to earn the trust of the public,“ he said.
Akhbar said due to the complexity of cases in the present era, judges should equip themselves with knowledge in specialised areas such as forensics accounting, cyber crimes and big data.
He said they must develop an interest in modern technology and conduct research professionally before passing judgements.
“Judges should be able to conduct fair, neutral judgements without fear or favour with justice being determined by the law and facts of a case. Otherwise there is no meaning to the rule of law,“ he added.