The 2010 Amendments, an attempt to expedite criminal trials.
Pre-trial processes were introduced into the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Act 2010 and have since been encapsulated in Chapter XVIIIA of the Criminal Procedures Code (“2010 Amendments”). The 2010 Amendments embody Parliament’s spirit of resolving the backlog of cases and promoting speedy trials in line with the Malaysian Government Transformation Programme. Further, the 2010 Amendments were also spurred by the then Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi’s initiative to deliver justice more expeditiously.
This article will elucidate the three main components of pre-trial processes – pre-trial conference, case management and plea bargaining, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the pre-2010 and post-2010 Amendments through the lens of the Court, defence, prosecution, and victim (“Parties Concerned”). Attempts will be made to ascertain whether these amendments are for the better or the worse. If these amendments do indeed bring disadvantages to the Parties Concerned, the author will determine which pre-trial regime, pre-2010 or post-2010, is the lesser of two evils.
Child marriage is presently legal for both Muslims and non-Muslims respectively. Owing to the recent headlines of reported cases of child marriage, this issue has re-emerged as a hot-button issue, with numerous calls to end the practice of child marriage.
The issue of child marriage sparked outrage in Malaysia owing to the controversial marriage of an 11-year-old girl to a 41-year-old man. Malaysians have expressed grave concerns about the incident, resulting in clarion calls from many quarters to raise the floor age of marriage to 18. This call is especially pertinent in light of Pakatan Harapan’s pledge in its manifesto for the 14th General Election, which was to “ensure the legal system protects women’s rights and dignity”, including “introducing a law that sets 18 as the minimum age of marriage”.
However, the nation is currently witnessing the controversial handling of child marriage issue by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, headed by Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. The minister has received brickbats with reasonable justifications as it has been two months since the incident occurred, but there is yet to be any significant resolution proposed. The answer to the people’s cries was repetitive — that the federal government does not have jurisdiction to intervene in child bride cases. Yet another case of child marriage was reported on the 18th of September in Kelantan where a 15-year-old girl tied the knot with a 44-year-old man, who is a father of two. The author is of the opinion that the longer the ministry delays in reacting towards this controversial issue, the higher the number of young girls who will fall victim to child marriage and have their welfare and interest jeopardised.