MIRI, Jan 20 — Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan has called for the Federal Constitution to be amended towards regaining public confidence in the Malaysian judicial system.

According to him, there is a need to rectify the judicial system to prevent the public prosecutor from withdrawing a criminal case, and the court should be allowed to proceed with criminal proceedings until a judgement has been made.

Currently, he says the court is restricted or restrained in exercising its general and inherent judicial power to administer justice when the public prosecutor withdraws a criminal case from prosecution.

Voon was responding to the statement by Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat about the judiciary being incorrectly labelled as ‘corrupt’ and ‘incompetent’ by the public after the public prosecutor had withdrawn criminal charges against certain high-profile individuals last year.
In her keynote speech at the opening of the Legal Year 2024 on Jan 15, Tengku Maimun highlighted these ‘high profile’ cases in 2023 without naming them, where the public prosecutor as part of the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) had withdrawn charges against political persons.

Under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution, the Attorney-General, who is also the public prosecutor, has the discretion to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceeding for an offence other than before a Syariah Court and the judges’ hands are tied to order either a discharge or discharge not amounting to acquittal for an ongoing case.

On this part, Voon said it made a mockery of the well-established concept of judicial independence to determine disputes if the public prosecutor was allowed to withdraw a case any how without good reasons.

“Withdrawal or discontinuance of a criminal proceeding should only be allowed if the court is satisfied with the reasons given by the public prosecutor,” he pointed out.

Voon suggested that the court should be given powers to call and hear views of lawyers or members of the Malaysian Bar, whether or not the public prosecutor’s move to withdraw or discontinue the criminal proceeding was justified.

“As the law now stands, there is no need by the public prosecutor to give reasons once the public prosecutor decides to withdraw a case from prosecution.”

Voon, a practising lawyer and former police officer, said since judicial power of the Federation was vested in the courts, it should be manifestly clear that the power referred to in Article 145(3) Federal Constitution would only relate to the prosecution, and not the trial of criminal proceedings.

“The court should not be denied to have inherent powers to order the trial to continue and if this power is exercised, this should not be seen as fettering the powers of the public prosecutor under Article 145(3) Federal Constitution to institute, conduct and discontinue criminal proceedings,” he stressed. — Borneo Post Online


Source: Malay Mail

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