Baseless criticism will erode public confidence in judiciary, says CJ

Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat says the court gives equal treatment to plaintiffs, defendants, deputy public prosecutors and accused persons.

PUTRAJAYA: Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat has urged media practitioners to be more responsible in their reporting, especially on court proceedings, to avoid eroding public confidence in the judiciary.

She said of late, the judiciary had come under constant criticism, especially when high-profile cases were involved.

“The criticisms question the integrity of judges (and imply) that the courts are biased towards one of the litigants,” she said in her speech after witnessing Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim taking his oath of office.

Tengku Maimun said the court gave equal treatment to plaintiffs, defendants, deputy public prosecutors and accused persons.

“Public confidence in the judiciary will erode when the integrity of the judiciary and judges are questioned without any basis. In this regard, the media plays a big role,” she said.

She said the media must ensure its reports were objective and accurate.

“It is disappointing when the media made sensational comments which are inaccurate just to enhance its readership,” she said.

She hoped reporters from all media would be responsible in reporting court proceedings which should be based on facts and not on subjective opinions.

Tengku Maimun said that adverse remarks would destroy the independence of the judiciary, one of the institutions that is responsible to protect the constitution and the rights of the people.

New Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim.

She said the times we were living in were indeed challenging and the provisions of the Federal Constitution were being stretched and tested to the limits.

She said it was in times like these that the judiciary must remain impartial and ever ready to deliver justice according to the rule of law.

“I urge judges to carry out their duties honestly and fairly,” she added.

Earlier today, Abang Iskandar, 60, received his letter of appointment from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur.

The 10th chief justice of Sabah and Sarawak, who is also a native of Sarawak, replaces David Wong Dak Wah who retired on Feb 19.

Abang Iskandar was appointed judicial commissioner in March 2007 and elevated to High Court judge in October 2009.

He was made Court of Appeal judge in September 2013 and move up to the Federal Court in November 2018.