Fahri Azzat, who occasionally visits the Istana Kehakiman to do a bit of filing, case management, breakfast and use the impressive toilets, shares his thoughts on the security machines and guards stationed at the entrances and naturally concludes with the necessity for the removal of both.

If you visit the Istana Kehakiman (formerly mis-described as the “Palace of Justice”) at Putrajaya, you will notice some impressive security machinery at the entrances. There is a metal detector, an X-ray machine and a guard who can use the portable metal detector on you where appropriate. If they want to.

Although our bodies are scanned and the bags x-rayed, I really don’t know what those machines are for. Sometimes there are no guards manning the machine. One can just walk right through. Especially after the 9am morning crowd. In fact, I and just about everybody I see who walks through the metal detector sets it off but we are usually not further frisked or scanned thereafter. If you’re not going to frisk or scan us further then why bother, why waste the electricity to have those machines on?

Sometimes when we send our bags through the X-ray machine, there is no one observing the contents of the bag. The guard would be sitting somewhere closer to the door with a better view of the outside because he is usually bored out of his wits. Serious. If you wait long enough, I feel certain their brains would spill out of their ears. All they do is eye us warily from their corner as they tip their chair back as if their eyes possessed the ability to X-ray evil intentions for a few seconds before turning to what they were occupied with before.

In short, they are not using the machines as they are supposed to. There are security machines, there are security guards but there is no security. This is the magic of Malaysia. A bit like our laws – we have laws, we have courts but there is no law and even less order. Not even David Copperfield can pull off feats of illusion!

So what this means is that the machines are not for purposes of security. This suggests that it is there for some less obvious other purposes. We can also infer that since those machines are not seriously or consistently operated it is there for show. But shows cost money. X-ray machines, metal detectors cost money. And we all know that in Malaysia, money from the government means “project”. And project usually means out of our pockets i.e. tax payers money and into some well connected person’s pocket (or their flunkies).

I’m not sure why we need those machines in the Istana Kehakiman in the first place. I am not aware of any threats made against the building or the courts. For the time being, the likelihood of a threat against the Istana Kehakiman would be more from within, than without.

That money should have been spent on purchasing tasteful benches that blended with the splendid decor. More of that would be nice. Or upgrading the Judiciary museum to make it available to the public. That would make the place more interesting to visit. Seems to be opened for dignitaries only. Or nice and better room for members of the public to cool their heels and wait patiently.

Since they (the machines and the guards) are the first thing the public, clients, foreign guests and lawyers meet upon entering the court, and they symbolize incompetence and corruption, it is therefore in the interest of the Istana Kehakiman to get rid of both.

We wouldn’t want the public to think that our Judges and Judiciary were incompetent or corrupt similarly now would we?

Especially now that most of them along with the government appear to have forgotten the Royal Circus of Malaysia on the VK Lingam video clip.

Fahri Azzat practices the dark arts of the law. Although he enjoys writing and reading, he doesn't enjoy writing his own little biographies of himself. Like this one. He wished somebody else would do it...

6 replies on “Security Machines at Istana Kehakiman”

  1. Dear Art Harun

    Methinks it is sad for a man to have nothing in the head. or heads.

  2. Fahri Fahri…best exercise caution cos somebody's tools are gonna get zapped when he passes thru the security machines the next time! that is assuming he is bringing along at least one.

  3. Sssshhh…I'll let you in a secret.

    I am told by reliable sources that those "security machines" actually are not there to check guns, knives whatever. It is supposed to emit that sounds loudly if "brains and intelligence" are detected.

    The next time you are there, you should observe it. I mean, the other day I saw a Judge going through it and damn, no sound at all!

  4. Dear Fahri,

    I had an idea a while ago for the KL High Court.

    At airports, you can check your bags in, find out the latest info on your flight, pick a seat on the plane etc. Similarly, at the court building, we could implement a system where lawyers could 'check in' their bags (which would then be sent up to the respective courts – by gnomes who live underground, same way the airport works), find out more info about their matters etc. This will make sure they are punctual, and with the spare time, they can also order breakfast, prepare stuff for tomorrow, and turn up not looking flustered and bothered from having had to look for parking for the past two hours. Apart from that, there will also be fewer foot-related injuries for female members of the profession who have to look fabulous in heels while lugging their big bags around. This will improve the wellbeing of lawyers and functionality of the court significantly.

    We could channel the current "security devices" which are not being used properly into "project court ala airport" instead of scrapping them altogether. This will prevent wastage, make our courts look good, and give the guards more things to do (take breakfast orders, check court diaries etc).

    1. Dear June,

      Those are immensely sensible and useful suggestions which because of that means it will not see the light of day, even with that carrot of fashionably dressed and stylishly heeled lady litigators entering the Istana Kehakiman with flourish.

      I remember when I went for a visit down to the Singapore High Court. I was amazed to find out just how plush, comfortable, convenient and well equipped their Bar room was never mind the rest of the highly impressive facilities and judicial officers (note: When I sat in for a recruitment drive on my visit to the National University of Singapore, I was impressed to discover that only first class graduates are eligible to apply for clerkship with the Judge and later end up Registrars; and only a second class upper were eligible to apply to the Attorney General's Chambers). There were tasteful comfortable sofas and chairs about with a gentleman who would take your food and drink order. The best part was there was a panel that flashed those cases due to be called up. That meant lawyers could hang out, do other work, catch up on their reading, have lively discussions of the law (well, one can hope) at the Bar room for their cases instead of sitting around court quietly more than is really necessary.

      Until then I suppose we have to live in hope and ventilate our dissatisfaction!

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