Malaysia's chief justice on Najib's judgment: 'If you don't understand, you ask'

Malaysia Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat advised people against jumping to conclusions without first understanding the judgment. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR - The Chief Justice of Malaysia said on Saturday that people should not be making statements about a court judgment without having full understanding of the court's decision.

CJ Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat said comments made without understanding the judgment were based solely on sentiment, and not on an understanding of the law.

"It is not fair to be making statements on things you don't understand, that would bring chaos to anything, if you say something which you do not understand," she said to reporters.

She was responding to a question on politicians attacking the judiciary after the apex Federal Court on Aug 23 affirmed the 12-year jail sentence of former prime minister Najib Razak for graft.

"You don't have the basic knowledge, you don't have the full understanding, yet you're making statements about it.

"That's not right," she said, after attending the Second National Litigation Conference 2022 at the Asian International Arbitration Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

Tengku Maimun advised people against jumping to conclusions without first understanding the judgment or consulting those who were more knowledgeable about the application of the law.

"My personal opinion is that the comments show their lack of understanding because they don't read the judgment.

"If they don't read, they don't understand, if they don't understand, they will make comments that are inappropriate and irrelevant to the issue," she said.

Najib was sent to jail on Aug 23 after the five-judge Federal Court bench led by Tengku Maimun upheld the judgments of the High Court and the Court of Appeal that Najib was guilty of charges brought against him, after RM42 million (S$13 million) of public funds were found in his private account.

Umno leaders led by president Zahid Hamidi and deputy president Mohamad Hasan four days after Najib began his jail sentence, on Aug 27, held a major political gathering to condemn the jailing saying the former prime minister, was not given a fair trial.

Tengku Maimun, 63, on Saturday said she was grateful to have the backing of the Malaysian Bar, which issued press statements to rebuke the attacks by the politicians.

"I'm very grateful because the Malaysian Bar has in fact issued press statements and they have explained the real positions why the cases were decided that way and also why politicians should not jump to conclusions or make statements.

"I'm very grateful for the support," she said.

Tengku Maimum added that her advice to the public would be to understand the court's decision by reading the judgment.

She also said that if they still failed to understand, they could consult those who were more knowledgeable about the matter.

"You ask the right people, don't simply jump to conclusions without fully understanding. That's the basic thing, isn't it? If you don't understand, you ask," she said.


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