PETALING JAYA: The appointment of Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat as the new Chief Justice is yet another milestone in the judiciary, as she is the first woman to take on the role.
It took Tengku Maimun a good 12 years to move from the High Court to the Federal Court, and now a Chief Justice.
There were reports prior to her appointment which made it seem as it was mired in controversy including an alleged stalemate between Putrajaya and the Conference of Rulers.
However, yesterday, in her very first remark after being appointed as the top judge, she had this to say to her judges: “be independent and efficient in discharging duties”.
This is exactly what her former colleagues and superiors said about her as The Star spoke to some of them.
Former judge Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid who was her superior back in the 1990s said she was a competent officer.
“I know YAA in 1995 and 1996 in the KL High Court. We worked together when YAA was the Deputy Registrar.
“I remember well she stood out being both competent and knowledgeable. Wanting to do the extra mile is a mark of her character. And we would discuss the files, which came to our court before the decision was drafted.
“She was brilliant like the First Class graduates who are attached to judges in the US. Now with a half dozen years ahead I sincerely hope YAA Tengku CJ will further raise the standards of our judges and the Judiciary.
Retired Federal Court judge and eminent lawyer Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram said Tengku Maimun “is a hardworking judge who writes well”.“She is very fair in criminal cases and follows established principles when deciding public law cases. I believe that she has always had a deep interest in the subject.
“I recall that as a young magistrate she wrote a judgment that was commended by then High Court judge Justice Tan Sri Mohd Azmi Kamaruddin (later retired as Federal Court judge). I recall him telling me once that he wrote to her commending her judgment. I am sure she must still have that letter with her.
“As Chief Registrar she proved to be a good administrator. I believe that she will not dilute the great steps of advance made in constitutional law,” said Sri Ram.
The Universiti Malaya Law Faculty Alumni welcomed the appointment saying that it was proud that a law graduate from the university has made it to the top of the judiciary.
Tengku Maimun, who will turn 60 in July, was made a High Court judge in 2007.
She was elevated to the Federal Court last year.