PUTRAJAYA, Jan 12 — A special court to deal with human trafficking issues will be established this year with the first one in Klang, Selangor, said Chief Justice Tun Md Raus Sharif.
The pilot project would begin in May or June while the others would be set up in phases also by this year in Ipoh , Melaka, Muar , Kota Kinabalu and Balik Pulau , he said.
He said there was a need to establish the special court, to be presided by a Sessions Court judge, to specifically hear and decide on human trafficking cases since statistics had shown a sudden rise in such cases.
“We want a specialised court to handle such cases because from our experience, specialised courts do better than normal courts, and hopefully, to dispose off human trafficking cases quickly.
“This is because the witnesses will be in custody and we have to deal with this as quick as possible. We must do a pilot project and learn from it before establishing it in phases,” he told reporters after opening the Judicial Year 2018 here today.
Commenting on the Specialised Court for Sexual Crimes Against Children, which was established in April last year based in Putrajaya, Raus said a timeline of one year was set for disposal of the child sexual crimes cases so that the cases would be resolved quickly and efficiently.
He said the Child Sexual Crimes Court managed to dispose of 80.4 per cent (287 cases) of its 357 cases in its first year of operation well within the prescribed timeline, with 70 cases still pending as of Dec 31.
“We must give justice to the victims. We always think about the accused and never thought of the victims. That is why we wanted all these cases to be disposed off within year. The cases must be speed up because the courts need to hear what has happened from the children’s minds when the case is still fresh, he said.
Raus said a new court complex was expected to be ready in Sabah this March, would also house a dedicated court room to hear child sexual crimes cases, besides 12 other courts to be established across the country in four phases by year-end.
Asked to comment on the Bar Council’s absence at the opening of the Judicial Year today, Raus said the Bar Council had insisted on raising his extension of tenure as Chief Justice and also that of Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin’s at the forum.
“I told them (Bar Council) it is not proper to raise this since the case is at the court. I even explained to them, if the Bar raises the matter, then the Attorney-General (Tan Sri Apandi Ali) will have to respond to it.
“It is very difficult for us. You (Bar Council) cannot have this objection in the public (forum) like this, and since they have a court case, the court will decide,”he said.
Raus said he changed this year’s format after the Bar Council insisted on raising the matter at the forum.
“I informed the AG that there is no necessity for him to speak and it will be awkward since the Bar would not be speaking,” he said.
Since 2010, the Judiciary year, which previously known as the Legal Year, will have three speeches, from the Bar Council, Attorney-General and the Chief Justice, similar to what is being practised in the United Kingdom.
The appointment of Md Raus and Zulkefli Ahmand as additional judges of the Federal Court post-mandatory retirement to enable them to hold the posts of Chief Justice and president of the Court of Appeal respectively became a bone of contention with the Bar Council which is challenging the appoints in court. — Bernama