Judges with doubtful sources of assets will be referred to MACC, says CJ

Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat also reminds all judges to avoid close ties with lawyers, deputy public prosecutors and federal counsel who have cases before them.

PUTRAJAYA: The judiciary will refer to the relevant authorities, including the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), for follow-up action if the source of asset acquisition of a judge is doubtful and if there is evidence it is illegally acquired, says Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat.

She said the judiciary would not compromise or protect any judges or judicial officers involved in corruption or other serious offences.

“I wish to stress that the judiciary takes a serious view of corruption allegations said to have taken place among judges, especially in the lower courts,” said Tengku Maimun.

She said action would also be taken against any judge who failed to comply with the chief justice’s circular requiring judges to declare all their assets.

Similar instructions were also given to chief registrars on asset declaration by judiciary officers.

“The judiciary has taken various preventive measures as an effort to combat corruption,” said Tengku Maimun when speaking at the taking of the oath of office and loyalty by 14 judges.

Tengku Maimun said there was a rumour about a judge’s misconduct that was unrelated to the decision of a case, but she had not received any written complaints about it.

“I assure such complaints, if valid, would be acted upon by the judiciary with the cooperation of the relevant parties to investigate and find the truth.”

In her speech, Tengku Maimun also reminded all judges to avoid close ties with members of the legal profession such as lawyers, deputy public prosecutors and federal counsel who have cases before them.

“It is inappropriate to invite them into the judge’s chambers without the presence of other parties even though they are close friends of the judge,” she said.

Tengku Maimun said such matters may create suspicion or create a sense of favouritism.

“I have received reports that such matters have occurred at the magistrate and sessions courts. I want such liaisons to stop immediately,” she said.

At the ceremony, Federal Court judge Azahar Mohamed took his oath of office and loyalty as the chief justice of Malaya.

Meanwhile, 13 other judges also took their oaths of office and loyalty as judges of the Federal Court, Appeal Court and High Court.

Two Court of Appeal judges, Vernon Ong Lam Kiat and Abdul Rahman Sebli, took their oaths as Federal Court judges. Four judges, namely Lee Swee Seng, Azizah Nawawi, Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera and Ravinthran N Paramaguru, were sworn in as Court of Appeal judges.

Seven judicial commissioners, comprising Roslan Abu Bakar, Abdul Wahab Mohamed, Hassan Abdul Ghani, Chan Jit Li, Muhammad Jamil Hussin, Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh and Khadijah Idris, were appointed High Court judges.

When met by reporters after the oath-taking ceremony, Tengku Maimun said the judiciary would issue reminders to judges and officers to always adhere to the code of ethics that they have to be clean.

She also said the judiciary is trying to tighten the process of declaring assets so that judges who acquire new assets need not wait for three years to declare their assets.

She said there is 100% compliance by judges on declaring their assets.

“We need to monitor because based on the circular, it has to be done once every three years,” she said.