Legality of reappointing top judges – Federal Court to deliver verdict on Sept 24

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 18 Sep 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: The Federal Court will deliver its judgment on Sept 24 on the suit by the Malaysian Bar and the Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) challenging the reappointment of two retired judges as Chief Justice and Court of Appeal President last year.

The Bar and AAS are questioning whether the appointments of former chief justice Tun Raus Sharif and former Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin as additional judges last year were constitutional.

The two were made additional judges after they reached the constitutional mandatory retirement age of 66 years and six months, before they then went on to re-assume the top posts.

Counsel Farez Jinnah, who acted for the Bar, said he had received a letter from the Federal Court registry on Friday (Sept 14) telling him that the decision was set to be delivered on Sept 24.

Earlier this year on March 14, a seven-man bench of the Federal Court had reserved judgment on the matter after hearing submissions by the parties.

The panel was chaired by Justice Tan Sri Hasan Lah. The other judges on the bench were Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zaharah Ibrahim and Federal Court judges Tan Sri Zainun Ali, Tan Sri Ramly Ali, Datuk Sri Balia Yusof Wahi, Tan Sri Aziah Ali and Datuk Alizatul Khair Osman Khairuddin.

In their legal challenge, the Bar and AAS are posing four points of law for determination by the Federal Court.

One of the questions is whether, under Article 122(1A) of the Federal Constitution, an additional judge can be appointed on the advice of the Chief Justice, whose advice is to take effect after the latter’s retirement.

Another question asked is whether the appointments of judges by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong under Articles 122(1A) amd 122B(1) of the Federal Constitution is justiciable (subject to trial in a court of law).

The Malaysian Bar also sought declarations that Raus and Zulkefli's appointment as Chief Justice on Aug 4, last year and Court of Appeal President on Sept 28, last year respectively were null and void.

On July 7 last year, the previous government announced that Raus would remain in office for another three years from Aug 4, while Zulkefli would remain in his post for another two years from Sept 28, 2017.

On June 7 this year, Raus and Zulkefli submitted their letters of resignation to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who gave his assent on June 8.

On June 13, this year, the Chief Registrar's Office issued a statement that Raus and Zulkefli would resign on July 31 after completing their judicial duties.
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