IPOH: In the justice system, the judge plays an important role and becomes a symbol in ensuring the credibility and authority of the judicial institution.
Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah said any form of doubt must be avoided and a judge must be free from any influence or pressure.
He said a transparent judgment reflected an authoritative justice system and was not overshadowed by feelings of anger and fear in anyone.
“History proves that Rasulullah SAW recognised and gave freedom to Muaz bin Jabal who was sent as a representative to the country of Yemen to ijtihad with the ability of his knowledge in punishing if something was not found in the Qur’an or As-Sunnah.
“He did not influence Muaz’s thinking in ijtihad or intervene in his judgment. My late father, Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah once mentioned in the opening speech of the 14th Malaysian Laws Conference – the mere existence of courts and judges in every ordered society proves nothing; it is their quality, their independence and their powers that matter.
“As such, in the interests of justice, I, as the head of the Islamic religion who is responsible for the affairs of the Islamic religion, fully supports the principle of independence of the Syariah judiciary in this state,” Sultan Nazrin said in his opening speech at the 2022 Perak Syariah Journal Volume 1 at the [email protected] Hotel here, today.
Sultan Nazrin said writing reasons for judgment were one of the tasks that judges were responsible for as it would provide reasons, grounds and support for every decision that had been made against a case brought before them.
“The reason for the judgment is also a consideration for any party aggrieved by the announced decision, to reassess whether they want to continue their intention to appeal or otherwise.
“If the basis and support of the judgment are weak, the appellant has the right to argue that the judge has erred in his judgment and apply for his case to be re-evaluated in a higher court,” he said.
Sultan Nazrin said the writing of reasons for judgment became an evaluation medium to determine judges’ level of competence.
“Reasons for a quality judgment can reveal the judges’ skills in assessing an issue, by applying the correct principles of law and Islamic law so that justice can be given to those who deserve it.
“Writing thoughtful and quality judgment reasons will be a guide and reference for legal practitioners.
“Strong justification for an issue and assessment as well as the correct use of law and legal principles will guarantee the credibility of judges and elevate the justice system itself,” he said.
Sultan Nazrin said the increase in the hierarchy of Syariah Courts in Perak with the creation of the Syariah Main Court, through the provision of section 44 (3A) in the Islamic Religious Administration Enactment (Perak) (Amendment) 2018 provides an equal appeal space between cases that start in the Syariah Subordinate Court and cases that start in the Syariah High Court.
“The opportunity to appeal is a right guaranteed by law, being a field for higher court judges to re-evaluate the reasons for judgments decided by judges in lower courts; whether there is a mistake or otherwise,” he said.
To create a credible and authoritative Syariah Judicial Institution, Sultan Nazrin said judicial officers must be trained, equipped with skills and exposed to experience from time to time so that their knowledge, as well as their ability to interpret the law and Syariah Law, could improve.
“Competency needs to be constantly improved in line with the current challenges and complexity of the cases handled in the Syariah Courts nowadays.
“As such, it is the responsibility of my government to help provide training and competency development that emphasises knowledge mastery and character building.”
Sultan Nazrin said efforts to improve the syariah judicial system and empower the Syariah Courts should continue to be pioneered.
“Publishing Al-Qanun, Syariah Perak Journal is an example of a noble yet commendable effort. Hopefully, Al-Qanun can be used as a reference material by judges and legal practitioners,” he said adding that he congratulated the state’s Syariah Justice Department for the idea and effort to produce the journal.