KLANG, March 28 — The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Sessions Court established today is proof of the government’s commitment to combat human trafficking and smuggling of migrants into the country, said Chief Justice Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif.
“The Malaysian judiciary is committed to ensuring that trials and the time frame to settle human trafficking cases are expedited. Klang was chosen as the location for the pilot project of the ATIP court in view of Selangor recording the highest number of human trafficking cases in the country,” he said.
By the end of this year, ATIP courts would also be set up in five other locations in stages namely in Ipoh, Melaka, Muar, Kota Kinabalu and Balik Pulau, he told a media conference after opening the first ATIP court at the Klang Court Complex here today.
Also present were Home MInistry secretary-general Datuk Seri Alwi Ibrahim, who is also the chairman of the Malaysian Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Council, Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop, Attorney-General Tan Sri Apandi Ali, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun and Federal Court Chief Registrar Datuk Seri Latifah Mohd Tahar.
Judge Datuk Unaizah Mohd presides over cases at the Klang ATIP court which commenced operations on March 1.
The special court is the brainchild of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Elaborating further, Raus said that towards ensuring quality justice for cases that come to the ATIP court, judges who will preside over the proceedings would be picked from those with more than 25 years’ experience in the judicial and legal field.
Alwi, meanwhile, said 676 arrests were made in connection with human trafficking last year with 282 people charged and 147 of them convicted.
Earlier, in his speech, Raus said Malaysia had long made efforts to combat human trafficking which is deemed among the most deplorable crimes and inhuman because it violates basic human rights without any concern for gender, race or nationality.
“Let us hope that the setting up of the ATIP Court will serve as a notice and to send a strong signal to human traffickers both domestically and internationally, that we are very serious in combating this type of crime.
“For the record, Malaysia’s position was raised to Tier 2 in the United States State Department Report on Trafficking in Persons (US TIP Report) 2017, due to the consistent efforts and commitment in improving the number of investigations, prosecutions and convictions of trafficking in persons’ cases as well as improving several aspects of victims’ protection,” he said. — Bernama