5th February 2021
Former magistrate’s claims of corruption in courts must be thoroughly investigated
I read with concern an article entitled, “Justice gone wrong: Jailed for graft, ex-magistrate shares his story” which was published by Malaysiakini today, highlighting the story of a former Magistrate who had been convicted of corruption in the past.
While it is commendable that the Magistrate in question, Firdaus Ramlan, has chosen to turn over a new leaf and educate the public about the ills of corruption by coming out public, the following that he was quoted for in the said article about his time as a Magistrate in Kelantan is worrying:
“At that time, the corrupt system was already in place. I had inherited it. This was an open secret”.
Firdaus went on to state how bribes were offered through middle people during his time as a Magistrate and described this as a “system that was already in place” which everyone knew about.
In other words, according to him, such practices had been going on long before he even assumed his role as a Magistrate. This raises the question as to whether such practices are confined to only where he was based or take place throughout the country.
Other questions include whether such practices are confined to the lower courts or also extend to higher courts throughout the country.
Firdaus’ revelations are serious indeed and cannot escape the attention of the Chief Justice who must investigate his claims as they are certainly capable of tarnishing the image of the Judiciary and will affect public confidence in the said institution.
It is important for such investigations to extend to all courts throughout the country. This can only be done with the cooperation of the MACC that must play its part to keep corruption away from the very institution entrusted to combat it.
In these circumstances, I urge the CJ to commence investigations immediately into Firdaus’ said claim and for the MACC to act forthwith, perhaps by launching covert operations in courts to ascertain the veracity of his claim.
The image of the courts must be jealously guarded and its integrity maintained. Any attempt at tarnishing such an image must be severely dealt with.
DAP National Legal Bureau Chairman
MP for Bukit Gelugor