Bar associations should pick out JAC members, proposes Conference of Rulers Chairman

PETALING JAYA: The appointment of the five members of the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) should be by other institutions and not the Prime Minister, says the Conference of Rulers Chairman.

Yang Dipertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan Tuanku Muhriz Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Munawir said on Wednesday (Nov 30) these institutions are the Bar Council, Sabah Law Society, Advocates Association of Sarawak and the Parliament Committee of Selection.

He said this in his opening speech at the second day of the 260th Conference of Rulers at Istana Negara.

In his speech, which was made available to the media, Tuanku Muhriz said that this proposal would ensure that the Judiciary and enforcement bodies are free from any external influences.

He also urged that the Rukun Negara be upheld, especially the two tenets of upholding the supremacy of the Federal Constitution and rule of law.

"In my speech today, I would like to pick two of the Rukun Negara tenets - Supremacy of the Constitution and Rule of Law. These two tenets are important in ensuring that the enforcement bodies and the Judiciary are free from external influences in carrying out their duties,” he said.

Tuanku Muhriz added that in the Judiciary, the Conference of Rulers is responsible for appointment of the judges in Malaysia.

“I see that the appointment of judges has some flaws which can be fixed. The JAC plays the main role in proposing the appointment of judges. Therefore, the membership of the JAC is critical to ensure that it continues to be able to provide names of judges with integrity and of calibre,” he said.

Tuanku Muhriz then said that the JAC currently has nine members, adding that four are topmost senior judges while the other five are individuals appointed by the Prime Minister.

“To ensure that the JAC is free to carry out its duties, I propose that the appointment of the five members not be made by the Prime Minister.

Instead, that role is given to other institutions such as the Bar Council, Sabah Law Society, Advocates Association of Sarawak and the Parliament Committee of Selection,” he said.

Tuanku Muhriz added that with this method, the JAC membership would be more balanced and not carry the interests of any party.

"I suggest that the JAC structure be relooked at through discussions between the government, the current JAC members, the lawyer's bodies as well as other relevant institutions and stakeholders,” said Tuanku Muhriz.

“If this is done, I am sure the JAC will be able to carry out its duties more effectively. This will enable individuals with better characters and those who are transparent and fair to be picked and appointed as judges in Malaysia,” he added.

"I also ask the new government to forge the spirit of togetherness among Malaysians of various races, religions and cultures. I hope there will be no more leaders who will raise the racial and religious issues to provoke the people," said Tuanku Muhriz.

The 260th Meeting of the Conference of Rulers, held for two days - on Tuesday (Nov 29) and Wednesday (Nov 30), was attended by the Malays Rulers, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and heads of states.

In attendance were Raja of Perlis Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail, Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, Perak Ruler Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, Kedah Ruler Sultan Sallehuddin Sultan Badlishah and Terengganu Ruler Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin.

Pahang was represented by the Regent of Pahang Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah Al-Sultan Abdullah and Kelantan by the Tengku Mahkota Kelantan Tengku Dr Muhammad Faiz Petra.

The meeting was also attended by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Penang Tun Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak, the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Melaka Tun Mohd Ali Rustam, the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Sabah Tun Juhar Mahiruddin, and the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Sarawak Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud.

At the meeting, the Malay Rulers were accompanied by their respective Menteri Besar, while the Yang di-Pertua Negeri were accompanied with their respective Chief Ministers, with the exception of Sarawak, by its Deputy Premier.

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