Monday, January 16, 2012

Judges’ declaration of assets will enhance public confidence in Judiciary - but really this is insufficient to fight corruption

Declaration of assets may be one of the steps towards ensuring the independence of the Judiciary..... and maybe it should also extend to immediate family members.

But, corruption has become creative today - and it takes on different forms.... appointment as a Director of a Company or a Commissioner or into some Board or another after retirement. Maybe, it also takes the form of employment as a highly paid Consultant in some law firm. The Malaysian Bar had called before for a 'cooling off' period of three years from the date of retirement but is this enough...

What really is the problem? I believe that the problem is the salary and pension - it is too low. I believe that when judges retire, their income be it from salary or other allowances should be maintained as their pension, with maybe a steady increment thereafter to reflect inflation and increased cost of living. Note that today, judges many a times do not even receive 50% of their last drawn salary - because their pension is calculated using another formula, which takes into account the number of months they sat as judges. This is not right.

Below the Bar's statement:-

Press Release

Judges’ declaration of assets will enhance public confidence in Judiciary
The Malaysian Bar applauds the Chief Justice’s announcement that superior court judges will be required to declare their assets, as well as his reminder to judges to uphold the independence of the Judiciary and reject interference of any kind.
The involvement of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (“MACC”), a third party, will enhance the perception of impartiality in the verification of the declaration of assets.
These are important steps towards increasing public confidence in the Judiciary, which the Bar supports.

Lim Chee Wee
Malaysian Bar

16 Jan 2012

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