‘Judges must ensure judiciary is always respected’

As leaders of the judiciary, it is imperative that judges play a leading role to ensure the body continues to excel and be respected, says Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria.

This is because justice in a country can only be enforced through a judiciary that is not only competent, but also transparent and robust and meets the basic criteria, such as free of any influence, neutral and not partisan, Justice Arifin said in his speech at a swearing-in ceremony involving the appointment of 11 judicial commissioners at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya yesterday.

He reminded judges that the task of a judge was not something simple and could be shouldered arbitrarily without close preparation.

Justice Arifin said the decision of a judge could change the future, position and life of a person; in fact, even more importantly, a court’s decision could also revoke the rights and freedom of a person.

He added there were several key elements that should be met by a judge while performing his duties. Among others, a judge must be mentally strong, resolute and able to control his emotions well in every situation and equip himself with related knowledge so that his knowledge of the laws always stays abreast with current issues.

The most important asset for the judiciary is the capability of exhibiting a clean and unblemished image, he noted.

A good reputation is crucial

A good reputation is crucial to ensure the trust and confidence of the public in the credibility of the judiciary. People need to believe not solely on the wisdom of the court in making decisions, but also on its ability to be fair and not prone to corruption, he said.

At the event, Justice Arifin presented certificates of appointment of judicial commissioner to 11 people, including four lawyers and a Sessions Court judge.

They then took their oaths of allegiance, and the dates of their appointment were effective yesterday.

The 11 are Rohani Ismail, 56, Dean Wayne Daly, 52, Mat Ghani Abdullah, 57, Asmadi Hussin, 49, Zalita Zaidan, 48, Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid, 53, Anselm Charles Fernandis, 57, Mohd Ivan Hussein, 50, Ahmad Shahrir Mohd Salleh, 50, Bexter Agas ak Michael, 54, and Celestina Stuel Galid, 48.

To questions from the media after the ceremony, Justice Arifin said there were at least five judicial commissioners who were not appointed as High Court judges in the last five years.

Justice Arifin, who is chairperson of the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC), said they were not appointed as judges of the High Court due to reasons he could not reveal.

He said their appointments as judges of the High Court depended on their performances in carrying out their tasks and delivery of judgments in the court.

Arifin was appointed JAC chairperson when he became chief justice in September 2011.

He said the JAC would meet once a month to assess the performances of judicial commissioners, adding the trial period for judicial commissioners was at least two years and their appointments as High Court judges were not automatic

Source: Malaysian Trades Union Congress