KUALA LUMPUR: No one, including the Chief Justice, can tell judges the kind of sentence to be passed, Tan Sri Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said.
He said it was not right for him to direct judges to mete out stiffer penalties on any criminal case including corruption cases because the judges must decide based on the law and the evidence before them.
This is what we call the independence of the judiciary. I cannot direct my judges to impose the sentence that I want them to.
No one can do that. It is completely up to them to decide, he said when asked whether he would be directing judges to give stiffer penalties to corruption offenders in line with the call by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to fight corruption.
Ahmad Fairuz said the proper way would be for prosecutors to make submissions and convince the court to pass a harsher sentence.
Let the judges decide and if people are not happy with the sentence, they can appeal, he said.
On Aug 11, Abdullah said he wanted more effective measures implemented immediately to curb corruption, especially in the public service.
He was concerned that more than half of 1342 cases registered the last few years involved civil servants.
Abdullah, who is also Home Minister, wanted to make ridding the government of corruption as a priority as incidents of corrupt practices and abuse of power among government officers were attracting more attention, especially from the mass media.