PETALING JAYA: A Sabah newspaper has expressed concern over a Sessions Court judge’s decision to bar the media from disclosing the name of a former top government official who was charged with criminal breach of trust.
In its letter to the editor section, the Daily Express responded to a query on why it had failed to name the former Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) deputy director of Sabah and Labuan who was charged with six counts of misappropriating property entrusted to her involving the sum of RM17,930.
According to the daily’s Jan 23 report, the deputy director, a 40-year-old woman, pleaded not guilty before Sessions Court judge Abu Bakar Manat to all charges against her.
The woman is accused of misusing money to facilitate and organise programmes at six schools between Jan 15 and Feb 27, 2017.
She is being charged under Section 403 of the Penal Code. The charge carries a jail term of between six months and five years, whipping, and also a fine.
The newspaper said it had no intention to withhold the identity of the accused but the directive to do so came from the Sessions Court judge.
It said the judge made the decision on grounds that disclosing the name of the accused would be unfair to the woman’s schoolgoing children.
The daily said it found the instruction “odd” and voiced its concern that it could set a precedent where judges could instruct the media not to disclose the identities of persons charged for crimes in court.