Source: FMT News
KOTA KINABALU: A Sabah opposition leader said Richard Malanjum’s reputation as an impartial judge could land Putrajaya in trouble over issues of compliance with the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63), and this could play a part in the government’s sidelining of the senior judge for the post of chief justice.
Parti Warisan Sabah deputy president Darell Leiking said there was a possibility that issues on the rights of Sabah and Sarawak under MA63 would be brought to the Federal Court following the Sarawak government’s fact-finding mission to London.
“It is likely that the Sarawak legal team may discover that the true spirit and letter of the formation of Malaysia vis-a-vis MA63 and its annexes have not been adhered to and a breach has occurred,” Leiking told FMT.
“Obviously, the only action that may be legally available is to consider a declaration of the validity and performance of the MA63. This kind of legal redress may likely have to be dealt with by the Federal Court.”
There have been calls recently to appoint Malanjum, who has been the Chief Judge of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak since 2006.
It comes amid criticism of Putrajaya’s decision to extend the tenure of the current chief justice, Raus Sharif, with many describing the move as unconstitutional.
Leiking said the controversy surrounding Raus’ extension could complicate matters.
“I am concerned that a possible unconstitutional chief justice may not be able to fairly dispense justice when there could be a huge conflict between the Federal Government and the people of Sabah and Sarawak who seek justice for the Borneo states,” he said.
He said Malanjum fits the bill as the “most senior and most qualified” judge for the position of chief justice.
MPs from Sabah and Sarawak will convene a roundtable meeting in Parliament today to discuss their proposal for Malanjum to be made the next chief justice.
Leiking said that any controversial appointee to the post might be reluctant to go against the powers that had a hand in his appointment.
“Such a possible bias may trickle down to all judges and may eventually lead to justice not being done to all citizens of the federation,” he added.
He warned that Barisan Nasional (BN) might lose votes in Sabah and Sarawak for the government’s failure to choose Malanjum for the post.
He added that BN was again clearly ignoring the expectations of the people at large, which was a gift for the opposition.