PUTRAJAYA, Sept 7 (Bernama) — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak regards the problem of backlog of cases as administrative inefficiency which can erode confidence not only in the judiciary but also the government in general.
However, he said, the nation’s judiciary had taken wise and speedy steps when backlogged cases in all courts in the country were reduced by 90 per cent within two years.
He said, following that, almost three-quarters of courts in Malaysia only had current cases or those registered last year and this year.
“The problem of backlog is not an extraordinary problem unique to any judiciary system in the world.
“The aim of my visit here is to see more closely the reforms which have been implemented by the judiciary under the learned Tun Zaki Tun Azmi. From my observation, and also from the briefing given by Tun Zaki himself, I believe our judiciary has reached a commendable level, especially through efforts undertaken to reduce backlogs,” he said in his speech in conjunction with his first working visit to the Palace of Justice, here, Wednesday.
Also present were Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz and Chief Justice Tun Zaki.
Najib said besides reformation and changes which were shown in attitude and work culture, a computerised system and audio visual recordings had also been introduced in the courts nationwide.
He said the judiciary also introduced special courts which heard cases specified for such courts.
“For example, the setting up of the New Commercial Court in Kuala Lumpur has enabled the settling of commercial cases within nine months of the cases being filed.”
He said 16 Special Courts for corruption cases were set up to speed up the hearing of such cases, under the National Key Result Area (NKRA) of fighting corruption. Najib said the government was proud of the reformation done by the judiciary when its achievements were recognised by international bodies such as the World Bank which prepared a report titled, “Malaysia Court Backlog and Delay Reduction Programme: A Progress Report”.
“I was able to read the draft of the report and was very attracted to several positive comments made by the author. I believe that what have been done by the judiciary could set examples for other countries,” he said.
Najib disclosed that he had actually adopted a cautious attitude when considering the working visit (to the Palace of Justice), so that no negative perception would emerge about the relationship between the executive and judiciary.
“The relationship must not only be proper, it must be seen to be proper. I fully understand the challenges faced by the judges.
“I am reminded of the words of the late Thurgood Marshall, the former United States Supreme Court judge, ‘We must never forget that the only real source of power that we as judges can tap is the respect of the people’,” he said.
Najib said the administration was very respectful of and understood the need for a judiciary that was independent.
“My administration is committed to an independent judiciary, which is an essential ingredient in any successful nation-building effort,” he said.
Najib said the government, meanwhile, was studying the suggestion by the judiciary to upgrade the posts of Sessions and Magistrate’s court judges, following the amendment to the Subordinate Courts Act 1948, which raised the jurisdiction of the Sessions and Magistrate’s courts.
In conjunction with the retirement of the Chief Justice on Sept 12, Najib said it could not be denied that Tun Zaki had played not only a significant, but a monumental role, in ensuring effective changes and reforms.
“He brings credit and merit to the office to which he is entrusted. The government says its thanks. Congratulations for a job well done and happy retirement,” he said.
Source : Bernama