CJ laments ignorance of justice system among youth

PUTRAJAYA: Chief Justice Richard Malanjum has called for more exposure to students of the ins and outs of the justice system, saying this should begin in schools.

He said the judiciary would play a dominant role in creating awareness among the younger generation, especially students, to respect and understand the law.

“Law subjects are only taught in universities. We feel it should begin in schools, to impart knowledge on how the courts operate,” he said at the launch of the Courtroom to Classroom programme at SMK Prescint 8(1) here today.

He said such programmes are part of school curriculum in the US, UK and even the Philippines.

Also present at the event today were Deputy Law Minister Mohamed Hanipa Maidin and deputy director-general of education Shaari Osman.

Malanjum said greater knowledge of the administration of justice would also help youths have a better understanding of legal procedures if they are arrested by the police for allegedly committing offences.

He voiced regret that there are law graduates who believe that the attorney-general is the head of the judiciary when it is in fact the chief justice.

“This is from my personal experience when conducting job interviews,” he added.

“I believe this happens because the law faculties fail to teach students about the court structure and three branches of government.”

The Courtroom to Classroom programme is in partnership with the Legal Affairs division in the Prime Minister’s Department, the education ministry and the Universiti Teknologi Mara Law Faculty.

Under the programme, the judiciary will distribute books, videos and posters to secondary schools across the country.

“We will also hold seminars for teachers to conduct the programme from June,” Malanjum said, adding that schools could invite legal officers and lawyers to give talks on taking up law as a career.

Malanjum said schools could also organise visits to nearby courthouses nationwide.

Meanwhile, Shaari said knowledge about the workings of the judiciary would only be part of co-curricular activities, like creating awareness among students on the effects of corruption and road safety.