Chief justice condemns attempts to intimidate judiciary by criticising unpopular decisions

“Last year, attempts to intimidate or otherwise exert improper pressure on judges presiding over public interest cases are becoming more obvious. These attempts are a direct affront to the Rule of Law and judicial independence.

(MMO) – Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat today called out dissenters who criticise certain judgments simply because they disagree with it, describing it as a “mischievous” act and one aimed to intimidate judges.

She said constructive criticism is always welcomed, but not attempts to undermine the judiciary’s independence.

“It is very mischievous for anyone to try to tarnish the image of the Courts and bring it into disrepute through unfair, biased and often times unenlightened criticism simply because they happen to not like particular decisions,” she said in her speech at the Opening of the Legal Year 2023 here.

Commenting on the criminal justice system as an example, Malaysia’s top judge noted that the courts will continue to decide on criminal liability according to the applicable law and the strength of the evidence presented in court.

“This is our job as judges, and we are determined to discharge our duty without regard to any threats that are made to deter us from it,” she said.

Since last year, Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali — the trial judge who had heard and convicted former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the case of the misappropriation of RM42 million of government-owned SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds — had came under attack from various quarters, including by blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin and by politicians.