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Friday November 2, 2007

Fairuz's tenure not extended, Abdul Hamid is now acting CJ


PUTRAJAYA: Court of Appeal president Datuk Abdul Hamid Mohamad has been made acting Chief Justice. 

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who announced this, said Tun Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim has retired from the top judicial post after his four-year tenure ended on Wednesday. 

The Prime Minister said that Abdul Hamid, 65, would be acting while waiting for the post to be officially filled. 

“I would like to thank Tun Ahmad Fairuz for his tremendous and excellent contributions to the judiciary and country. I hope he will be able to continue contributing to the country in whatever way possible,'' he told a press conference after chairing the 104th Mentris Besar and Chief Ministers meeting here yesterday.  

Asked how long it would be before the post was formally filled, Abdullah said the necessary action would be taken soon. 

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office announced the appointment of Abdul Hamid and the 

retirement of Ahmad Fairuz. 

It explained that according to the provisions of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964, the top judicial post vacancy could be filled by the Court of Appeal president until a new Chief Justice was appointed. 

Abdul Hamid, 65, joined the judicial and legal service as a magistrate in Kangar in 1969. 

He has held various positions, including Kuala Kubu Baru Sessions Court president, Kedah/Perlis Legal Aid Bureau assistant director, deputy registrar of the High Court of Malaya and legal adviser of Kelantan and Perak. 

He was appointed judicial commissioner in 1990 and promoted to High Court judge in 1992.  

In 2000, he was elevated to the Court of Appeal and three years later appointed a Federal Court judge. 

In April this year, he was appointed a judge to the Special Court set up to hear cases involving Rulers and royal family members. 

Following the death of Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Abdul Malek Ahmad on May 31, Abdul Hamid was picked to fill the vacancy on Sept 5. 

Ahmad Fairuz reportedly had his statement recorded by the Anti-Corruption Agency investigating the video clip controversy, showing a senior lawyer allegedly brokering the appointment of judges.  

Bar Council chairman Ambiga Sreenevasan described Abdul Hamid's appointment as appropriate. 

“However, we hope that the Chief Justice position is filled soon,” she added. 

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