KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 — The government is mulling the prospect of establishing a sentencing council, which is aimed at promoting greater transparency and consistency in sentencing, as a way to reform the criminal justice system, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

A sentencing council, the minister said, would be an independent public body similar to the sentencing council already established in the United Kingdom.

“This is to promote greater transparency and consistency in sentencing, whilst maintaining the independence of the judiciary,” he said when delivering his speech at the launch Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu’s book entitiled Criminal Ligitation Process here, today.

Wan Junaidi said another issue on the table is prison reforms where the government is looking to ensure that punishment meted out is based on the concept of restorative justice.

“This is to ensure that the rights of all parties is protected and guaranteed, thus improving the dynamics of the Malaysian criminal justice system,” he said.

Touching on Baljit’s book, Wan Junaidi said the publication which is the fourth edition, further bears testimony to the importance of the subject of criminal procedures and trial processes in the administration of criminal justice.

He added that the administration of criminal justice can be a challenging process because it involves various mechanisms and functions.

“Moreover, it requires delicate balancing of the rights of individuals on one hand and the protection of society on the other. As members of the law, it is paramount for us to take necessary action to deliver justice and defuse threats of crime as they emerge.

“One cannot do so without first understanding the history as well as the current state of the nation’s criminal law,” he said.

The minister said, lack of knowledge on the applicable laws and procedures also hampers the legal process.

“Thus, there is a need for a comprehensive publication which still maintains simple language so that it is accessible to all layers of the public to understand their rights and duties, the scope of the law, and discuss how it can be improved,” he said adding that the book is a gift to the Criminal Bar and the various stakeholders in the country’s criminal justice system. — Bernama