PETALING JAYA: The appointment of Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat as the new Chief Justice means a lot in acknowledging competency of judges without care for their gender, says Tan Sri Zainun Ali (pic).
“Even if the proportion of women judges had increased exponentially in the Malaysian judiciary in the last 10 years, the top ranks seemed to elude them – that is, until this hugely momentous appointment of Her Ladyship Tengku Maimun as Malaysia’s first woman Chief Justice,” said the recently retired Federal Court judge.
“Used as we are to this government’s admirable and robust approach in appointing competent women to top positions in the country, the appointment of a woman as Chief Justice is phenomenal.”
For some time from 1994, Tan Sri Siti Norma Yaakob was the one and only woman judge in Malaysia’s appellate and apex court.
She was also the first woman to hold the position of the Chief Judge of Malaya in 2005.
“It took another 13 years before another woman judge burst the landscape of this rarefied stratosphere when Her Ladyship Tan Sri Zaharah Ibrahim became the Chief Judge of Malaya in 2018,” said Zainun.
“It speaks volumes of the cadence and timbre of this government – from the King to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet – that they set great store by calibre and capability, independence and intellect, integrity and accountability .
“In her Ladyship Tengku Maimun, all the values of judgeship is deeply intrinsic. I should know for she was my Senior Assistant Registrar for many years when I was a Judicial Commissioner in 1996.
“From then on, she worked alongside me in various capacities, both on or off the Bench.
“Her Ladyship’s discipline is second to none and her sense of justice is finely balanced,” said Zainun, who is now Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd chairman.
Zainun said she was sure that Tengku Maimun would keep a stringent regime that assured judicial integrity.
“She will be steadfast in not losing our moral bearing in dispensing justice.
“She bears equanimity and an innate sense of purpose in equal measure. In this, she is therefore the quintessential judge.
“The Malaysian judiciary is safe in her hands,” Zainun added.