Ex-High Court Judge Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid was in Kota Kinabalu recently to give talk in a course on Media and the Law organised by the Malaysia Press Institute and sponsored by the Berjaya Foundation of Sabah.
As expected of the former judge, he made several important and honest observation pertaining to the world of journalism in the eyes of the law in Malaysia.
Syed Ahmad said Malaysia has no known curbs on reporting of corruption or criminal or other cases except those which are seditious or defamatory. In Malaysia, for the last two years, the Press were comparatively free and many reports of crimes, including those of corruption, appear regularly.
Syed Ahmad, who had also served as Kota Kinabalu High Court Judge, further said that it was partly the responsibility of the Opposition and all citizens to bring up corrupt cases and not just criticise the Government.
He noted that several cases of abuses of by high-level officials were highlighted by the media which had created public outcry, resulting in the removal or termination of the officers involved.
"These are but some of the critical expose arising from media's investigative and reporting activities. The idea of reporting crime or corruption is to expose. Do not let others look upon you, the media is important. The communities rely on media for information," he said.
My busy schedules had prevented me from attending Syed Ahmad's talk. I had known him when he was attached to the High Court in Kota Kinabalu and had the opportunities to cover cases presided by him. Malaysians will remember Syed Ahmad as a sitting Judge who wrote a report/book on corruption involving several serving judges.