Tranparent barriers to be installed in Klang Valley courts starting April amid pandemic

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 — As part of efforts to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, courts in the Klang Valley will be equipped with transparent barriers in stages, starting April 1.

The Federal Court Chief Registrar’s Office (PKPMP) in Putrajaya when contacted by Bernama said, the transparent barriers will be installed at the counsel’s table, witness box, dock in the courtrooms and remand rooms.

According to PKPMP, the judiciary has started the transparent barrier pilot project at the Sepang Sessions and Magistrate courts early this month.

“The initiative to install barriers is in line with the judiciary’s efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in court premises and ensure that justice services and delivery can run safely, orderly and smoothly,” it said.

It also said the top management of the judiciary had agreed to expand the installation of barriers in the courts in the Klang Valley following a pilot project in the Sepang Court complex.

When contacted, lawyer Zaflee Pakwanteh, 51, who was in the Sepang Magistrate’s Court on Monday for mention of the case under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act, said he welcomed the move.

“I strongly agree with the installation of the barriers, especially at the dock. That is the most important thing to ensure the safety of court interpreters and lawyers who have to deal with the accused.

“Prior to this I wore a face shield in court,” said the lawyer who has been practising law for 25 years and started handling cases in the Sessions and Magistrate courts in Sepang since 2009.

Meanwhile, lawyer Datuk Sheelan Arjunan, 44, who was at the Sepang Magistrate’s Court on Feb 8 for mention of a local artiste known as VJ Emergency who was charged with murder, confirmed that such barriers were already in place during his client’s proceeding.

“The Sepang courts has taken extra precaution in ensuring the safety of not only its court staff but as well as the lawyers and members of the public,” said Sheelan who has been practising law for 18 years and handling mostly criminal cases.

According to the standard operating procedure (SOP) during the Covid-19 pandemic issued by PKPMP, media coverage in open court proceedings is not allowed, except for cases involving public interest, and the court may consider providing space for live broadcast or media coverage facility via the zoom application. — Bernama