PETALING JAYA: Federal Court judge Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat’s illustrious career reached a new high point after she was appointed as the new Chief Justice, the first woman to take on the role.
Prior to this, she was among the two women appointed as Federal Court judge in November, the other being former Court of Appeal judge P. Nallini.
As a Federal Court judge, Tengku Maimun was on the panel led by outgoing chief justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, which foiled former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s attempt in obtaining a gag order to prevent the media and the public from discussing his case.
Najib is facing three counts of criminal breach of trust, one charge of abusing his position and three counts of money laundering over SRC International Sdn Bhd funds amounting to RM42mil.
Tengku Maimun was also a Court of Appeal judge for five years since 2013 and during that period, she had presided over a few high profile cases, including hearing the appeals in the murder cases of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu and cosmetics millionaire Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya.
During her time as a judge in the Court of Appeal, she also chaired a three-man panel in 2017 which dismissed an application by the National Registrar Department to seek a stay of a High Court’s ruling that allowed a Muslim child born out of wedlock to carry his or her father’s name instead of “bin Abdullah”.
Tengku Maimun was appointed as Judicial Commissioner in 2006 before she was elevated to be a High Court judge of Kuala Lumpur in 2007 and later as a High Court judge of Shah Alam in 2011.
Her appointment as Chief Justice comes into immediate effect and she replaces Malanjum, who was also the first Sabahan to shoulder the responsibility.
Malanjum, who served as Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak for 12 years, was Chief Justice for nine months.
He attained his constitutional retirement age of 66 last year and was given a six-month extension which ended in April.
Meanwhile, social media was flooded with congratulatory words for the newly appointed first woman Chief Justice.
Malaysian Bar president Datuk Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor said the Bar is confident that Tengku Maimun will take all the necessary steps in making the judiciary Malaysia can be proud of.
“As her Ladyship will have quite a few years helming the judiciary, it will be an opportune moment for reforms to be carried out within the judiciary in order to take it to greater heights and to erase all the negativities of the past,” he said.
Former International Trade and Industry minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz was among those who congratulated her.
“Heartiest congratulations to our new Chief Justice ... She has made history, and I am confident she will make our country proud,” she said on Facebook.
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