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Leaked draft judgments an attempt to undermine judiciary, says chief justice

Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat speaks of the challenges faced by the judiciary in the transformation of courtrooms from physical to virtual.

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Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat. Photo: Bernama
Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat. Photo: Bernama

The leaked draft judgments in two high profile cases at the Federal Court and Kuala Lumpur High Court were nothing less than wicked attempts to undermine the judiciary, aimed at disrupting judicial operations and the administration of justice, says Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat.

She said the leaked judgments were on former prime minister Najib Razak’s SRC International case and his wife Rosmah Mansor’s corruption case over a solar hybrid project.

Tengku Maimun said these were among the challenges faced by the judiciary in the transformation of courtrooms from physical to virtual, where cyber security was a paramount concern.

"Sensitive legal data, from personal testimonies to case details, must be protected. In the same way that physical courtrooms are secured by locks and guards, digital courtrooms require robust firewalls and encryption to protect the integrity of proceedings.

"In the past year, even the judiciary was targeted by certain members of society in pursuit of their ill-willed objectives," the top judge said in her opening address at the International Malaysia Law Conference (IMLC) 2023 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
In this regard, Tengku Maimun said the judiciary would continue to enhance its cyber security measures with a view to continuously preserve the confidentiality and integrity of the judicial processes.

"Our judgments undergo public discourse. We ourselves are scrutinised, and to speak candidly, even our private lives are not immune from such scrutiny," she said.

She added that it was the judiciary’s earnest hope that members of the public, who might be uninformed, would harness the power of technology to acquaint themselves with judicial decisions. 

Meanwhile, Malaysian Bar president Karen Cheah urged the government to reform certain laws at the parliamentary sitting in October.

She said the provisions which should be amended include the Second Schedule of Part II, Section 1(b) and (c) of the Federal Constitution where the word "father" should be replaced with "parent" in relation to the citizenship issue plaguing overseas-born children of Malaysian women with foreign spouses.

"It is so that our Federal Constitution moves with the times and recognises gender equality. Such amendments should be without qualifications or conditions attached. 

"All other problematic proposed amendments by the home ministry should be taken out and left for further discussion at a later date. This is a simple and straightforward amendment, and it should not be railroaded and delayed due to other issues newly introduced causing unnecessary complications," she said in her welcome speech at the IMLC 2023.

Cheah said that other proposed amendments involved the Judicial Appointments Commission to promote transparency and accountability in the appointment of judges, and reforms to the structure of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to ensure full autonomy and independence.

On the National Legal Aid Foundation (YBGK), Cheah said its lawyers had represented clients in more than two million cases from April 2012 until June this year.

"One of the greatest sources of pride for the Malaysian Bar is the advancement of legal aid programmes in Malaysia, and we do so because we believe everyone must have access to justice," she added.
Earlier, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced an allocation of RM10 million for YBGK to assist those who could not afford legal services.

Anwar also said he would present the proposed amendments to the Conference of Malay Rulers soon to enable Malaysian mothers to be granted equal rights in the Federal Constitution.

"We will be tabling amendments to the Federal Constitution to replace the words ‘whose father’ in Part I and Part II of the Second Schedule with the words ‘at least one of the parents’," he said.

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