PETALING JAYA: DAP lawmaker Ramkarpal Singh (pic) said that the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) "clearly overstepped" their boundaries by demanding the resignations of two senior judges.
"The CEP is appointed by the Government and its actions are ostensibly the actions of the Government," said Ramkarpal in a statement on Wednesday (June 13).
He said when the CEP summoned Chief Justice Tun Md Raus Sharif and Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin and demanded their resignations, it was seen as the Government demanding their resignations.
Ramkarpal said that this was in "complete disregard of the principle of separation of powers".
Raus and Zulkefli have since submitted their letters of resignation to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and will vacate their positions on July 31.
"It is a basic hallmark of any democracy that the executive does not interfere in the affairs of the judiciary," he said.
Ramkarpal clarified that there is nothing wrong with criticising the appointment of the Chief Justice and Court of Appeal president.
"However, it is quite another matter to summon them and demand their resignations. This is plainly wrong," he said.
"The Federal Constitution sets out the mode of the removal of judges. This must be adhered to at all times in accordance with the rule of law.
"The CEP has clearly overstepped its boundaries in this case, which cannot be condoned," said Ramkarpal.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has defended the CEP, saying that it did not overstep its boundaries by summoning Raus and Zulkefli.
He said that the CEP had the right to talk to people and suggest what was in their best interests.
Dr Mahathir's comments come after legal experts raised concerns following news of the meeting between the CEP and the two judges, saying that it was unacceptable and incompatible with the doctrine of separation of powers.
The reappointments of Raus and Zulkefli to their respective posts were controversial, as their terms were extended after they reached the mandatory retirement age of 66 years and six months.
In 2017, Pakatan Harapan submitted a memorandum to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong seeking his intervention to stop Raus and Zulkefli's unconstitutional reappointments.
The extensions were also challenged in court by the Malaysian Bar, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Parti Amanah Negara.
Chief Justice Raus and Court of Appeal president Zulkefli resign