Bar groups to discuss judicial term extension challenge

Source: The Malaysian Insight 

THE three organisations representing lawyers in the country may mount an unprecedented legal challenge against the term extensions of Chief Justice Raus Sharif and Court of Appeal President Zulkefli Makinudin.

Malaysian Bar President George Varughese will meet with the leadership of the Sabah Law Society and the Advocates Association of Sarawak in Miri this Saturday during a regular biannual tripartite meeting.

“We believe that if these appointments are not declined, it can lead to a constitutional crisis,” Varughese told The Malaysian Insight.  Read more

Borneo lawyers want Raus, Zulkefli to reconsider posts

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: Sabah and Sarawak lawyer groups have urged Chief Justice Raus Sharif and Court of Appeal president Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin to consider the potential risk to public confidence in the judiciary in deciding whether to remain in office after their mandatory retirement age.

The groups said they had no doubts as to the sterling character and capability of both judges and the constitutional powers bestowed upon the king under Article 122 (1A) of the Federal Constitution.

“However, it is clear that the timing and mode of the appointments/extensions certainly give rise to various issues raised and specifically on the public perception and confidence in the judiciary,” they said.

Their concerns were expressed in a joint press statement released today by Sabah Law Society president Brenndon Keith Soh and the Advocates Association of Sarawak president Ranbir Singh Sangha. Read more

Bar groups reject PM’s role in judicial appointments

Source: FMT News

JAC must be absolutely free of executive influence, says Malaysian Bar president.

Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 23, 2016.

Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 23, 2016.

PUTRAJAYA: The three bar associations in Malaysia have declared that they reject the current practice of giving the prime minister a say in the appointment and promotion of judges, according to Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru.

In a speech at the ceremonial opening of the new legal year, Thiru said the Malaysian Bar, the Sabah Law Association and the Advocates’ Association of Sarawak were in fact in agreement that the executive branch of government should have no part at all in the process.

He said the present system placed inordinate powers in the hands of the prime minister, who could veto without justification the recommendations of the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC).

“While the executive is entitled to express its views, the final recommendation to the Conference of Rulers should emanate only from the JAC,” he added.

He said the exclusion of the prime minister from the process would remove any concern that appointments and promotions were prejudiced and candidates were rejected because they were not favoured by the executive. Read more

Security bill serious threat to constitutional government, say lawyers’ groups

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Lawyers’ groups say The National Security Council Bill upsets the separation of powers between executive, legislature and judiciary. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 6, 2016.

The controversial National Security Council Bill (NSC) is a serious threat to Malaysia’s constitutional government, said lawyers’ groups in an open letter, as it upsets the separation of powers between executive, legislature and judiciary.

The open letter to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak comes as Putrajaya attempts to push through the bill despite widely held concerns from civil society and opposition parties towards the new law.

The groups, who represent lawyers from the peninsula and East Malaysia, also refuted Putrajaya’s claims that the bill was necessary to deal with terrorism and incidents such as the 2013 Lahad Datu incursion by Sulu militants.

“It is apparent that the bill vests and concentrates enormous executive and emergency powers in the NSC and the prime minister,” said the statement signed by the Malaysian Bar, Sarawak Advocates’ Association and the Sabah Law Association.

“This upsets the delicate separation of powers in the constitution between the executive, legislature and judiciary on the one hand, and the constitutional monarchy on the other hand.”

The letter was signed by Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru, Sarawak Advocates Association president Leonard Shim and Sabah Law Association president Brenndon Soh. Read more

Abolish the Mandatory Death Penalty and Restore Judicial Discretion in Sentencing – The Malaysian Bar, Advocates’ Association of Sarawak and Sabah Law Association

Joint Press Release

capital punishmentThe Malaysian Bar, Advocates’ Association of Sarawak and Sabah Law Association are heartened by the reported remarks of the Attorney General, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Haji Mohamed Apandi, that he will propose to the Cabinet that the mandatory death penalty for drug-related offences be abolished.  The three Bar associations of Malaysia also welcome Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department YB Puan Hajah Nancy Shukri’s reported statement that she hopes to table legislative amendments next year for such abolition.

There is great wisdom in leaving the decision on punishment for such offences to the discretion of the Judiciary.  With the abolition of the mandatory death penalty, the Judiciary will have the discretion to sentence a convicted person to either death or imprisonment.  However, concrete action on this issue is long overdue. Read more