KUALA LUMPUR: The Prime Minister should start immediately the process of consultation for the appointment of the four eminent persons in the Judicial Appointments Commission, said Proham.
“Proham notes that the positions in respect of the four eminent persons to be appointed to sit in the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) has not been filled,” said its chairman Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari.
He was responding to an article in The Star Online on Tuesday, which reported that the eminent persons’ term was ending on Thursday and that none of the three Bar associations nor Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohd Apandi Ali had been consulted.
This meant that the JAC possibly could not hold meetings to select judicial candidates because it did not have the minimum quorum of seven.
Kuthubul noted that Section 5(1)(f) of the Act “provides for the appointment to be made by the Prime Minister after consulting the Bar Council of Malaysia, the Sabah Law Association, the Advocates Association of Sarawak and the Attorney-General”.
He pointed out that the Act stated clearly that it was the JAC’s duty and responsibility to uphold the continued independence of the judiciary.
“In particular, Section 2(c) states that public interest needs to be properly represented in regards to matters relating to the judiciary, the administration of justice and related matters.
“Hence the four eminent persons play an important role in the Commission.
“This is also to ensure transparencies in all judicial appointments. In the absence of the eminent persons, the JAC will not be able to play its role and responsibilities, to the detriment of our society.
“It is disheartening to note that the process of consultation has not started given the importance of such appointments,” added Kuthubul.
He urged for the process of consultation to start immediately and for the Prime Minister to appoint eminent persons recommended by the three Bars as stakeholders.
“This is to ensure that those appointed are truly independent of the Executive and the Judiciary.”
Gerakan Youth deputy president Andy KS Yong said that the process of selecting JAC members must be transparent and independent.
“We need to follow the law strictly. My fear is that if judicial appointments are made without eminent persons in the JAC, the appointments could be ultra vires,” he said.
Yong added that it was time to amend the laws so that the JAC could submit their recommendations for the selection and promotion of judges to the King or Conference of Rulers directly, without the approval of the Prime Minister.