DAP legal bureau chairperson Ramkarpal Singh has urged chief justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat to investigate allegations of corruption, which was revealed by a former magistrate, who was jailed for taking bribes.
“I read with concern an article titled ‘Justice gone wrong: Jailed for graft, ex-magistrate shares his story’, which was published by Malaysiakini yesterday which highlighted the story of a former magistrate who had been convicted of corruption in the past,” he said in a statement yesterday.
While commending Firdaus Ramlan for sharing his story in the hope of educating the public about the ills of corruption, Ramkarpal raised concerns about possible cases of corruption within the justice system.
“Firdaus said that the corrupt system was already in place at that time and he had inherited it, and that was an open secret. He went on to state how bribes were offered through middle persons during his time as a magistrate.
“In other words, according to him, such practices have been going on long before he assumed his role as a magistrate which raises the question whether such practices are confined to only where he was based or throughout the country,” said the Bukit Gelugor MP.
In a Facebook posting yesterday, Firdaus issued a clarification that the “corrupt system” he mentioned involved “brokers”, and that he did not mean the whole judicial system was corrupt.
“I did not mean to say there are corrupt judges or judiciary officials. I did not mean to say there are corrupt legislative officers,” he stressed.
Ramkarpal said the chief justice must investigate these claims of corruption as they can tarnish the judiciary’s image and affect public confidence in the institution.
“The image of the courts must be jealously guarded, and it’s integrity maintained. Any attempt at tarnishing such an image must be severely dealt with.”
Ramkarpal suggested investigations be carried out in courts throughout the country with the cooperation of the MACC. He said the graft busters can do this through covert operations.
Firdaus was charged in 2009 with corruption after an accused of a drug offence case who had bribed him exposed the corruption. Firdaus was to serve three years in prison but was freed on parole after 19 months for good behaviour.
He became embroiled in graft when serving in the Gua Musang Magistrate’s Court. Before this, he had worked as a legal adviser for the Klang Municipal City Council and senior registrar at the Kota Bharu High Court.
In a separate statement, former Selangor assemblyperson M Manoharan also said he believes corruption is still happening today and that many senior police officers and lawyers are involved.
The former Kota Alam Shah assemblyperson, who is a lawyer, said he believes magistrates and Sessions Court judges are “innocent victims” of a bigger syndicate operating for years.
“The lawyer gets tip-offs from senior police officers on arrests and incoming remand proceedings.
Manoharan said he hoped the matter would be seriously investigated by the MACC and not by the police as they were allegedly involved. – Malaysiakini