In 2020, under the leadership of the former Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima David Wong Dak Wah, Sabah and Sarawak courts ventured into the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyse data and trends for the sentencing of selected criminal offences.

While AI does not displace the role judges, this move is an effort to improve the transparency of justice by improving consistency in the application of the law and to achieve parity in sentencing. This is crucial in preserving public confidence in the courts.

The court enlisted the assistance of SAINS to develop the necessary facilities, software and algorithm and the project commenced in October, 2019. Working closely with the court project team, the AI for Data Sentencing was officially launched on 18 January 2020 in conjunction with the Opening of the Legal Year, 2020.

The AI is currently deployed for only 1 offence i.e. possession of scheduled drugs, an offence under section 12(2) of the Dangerous Drugs Act and punishable under section 12 (3) of the same Act.

On the 19th February 2020, the Magistrate Court in Kota Kinabalu made history in Malaysia when AI for Data Sentencing was used for the first time in cases under section 12(2) of the Dangerous Drugs Act.


With breakthrough in the study of machine learning algorithm, scientists and programmers are able too take advantage of historical data and configure AIs to automatically discover meaningful patterns that can be utlized to develop useful application for diagnostics and predictions.

AI projects follow a continuous closed-loop development cycle where data is used to develop applications and in return, applications generate new data that will be used to improve the performance of the applications. The cycle enables an AI to better generalize a trend and update itself when the trend changes.

Thanks to the court management system (CMS), the court has amassed many past records detailing trial processes and sentence outcomes. This has enabled the developement of an AI system that able to provide real-time sentence recommendations to judges premised on the trend extrapolated from past data. The AI system take into consideration the variables of a case (e.g. weight of drug, background of the accused, rampancy of the relevant offence etc.) to generate a sentence that matches the severity of the case.


This project is in the pipeline and more details will be available soon.