Arifin should explain why he chose Raus as chief justice, says former A-G

Source: The Malaysian Insight

FORMER chief justice Arifin Zakaria’s decision to name Raus Sharif as his successor should be put under intense public scrutiny because it has set the stage for the biggest judicial crisis in 30 years, former attorney-general Abu Talib Othman said.

Abu Talib said Arifin had to explain why he nominated Raus, especially now that the latter had passed the mandatory retirement age of 66 years and six months.

“He should come out and tell the public because it is a controversy now. And it is a matter of great public importance. He should come out and explain.

“Is he of the opinion that all the other judges who have proven to be very competent and fiercely independent in the exercise of judicial functions are not competent to be the chief justice?” Abu Talib told The Malaysian Insight.

The former A-G, now 79, also questioned the manner in which Arifin stalled his announcement to right before he officially retired. Read more

Raus’ extension sets precedent for other judges, future CJs, says ex-Bar chief

Source: The Malaysian Insight 

THE manner in which Chief Justice Raus Sharif’s term was extended could be replicated to appoint additional judges as well as successive chief justices, said former Malaysian Bar president Christopher Leong.

Leong said Raus has set a precedent where former chief justices may also render advice to the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong for such appointments, which would usurp and encroach upon the constitutional function of future chief justices.

Raus was sworn in as chief justice last Friday despite being past the mandatory retirement age of 66 years and six months, which lawyer groups, including the Malaysian Bar, have called unconstitutional and pledged legally challenge it.

“I share that opinion,” Leong told The Malaysian Insight.  Read more

Raus defends extension of tenure as Chief Justice

Source: FMT News 

PUTRAJAYA: Chief Justice Md Raus Sharif today defended his reappointment as the country’s top judge, questioning why he should decline the position.

He said although the move was unprecedented, everything was done according to due process of law where the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has the power to appoint judges under the Federal Constitution.

“Of course there are conflicting views on this. As I said, lawyers always disagree,” he said.

“So it is nothing strange for lawyers to disagree on the interpretation of the constitution. It happens every day in court,” he told a press conference at the Palace of Justice here.

Raus was referring to the controversial extension of his tenure as chief justice, as well as that of Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin as Court of Appeal president, by the government last month, by way of appointing them as additional judges of the Federal Court after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 66.

The Malaysian Bar announced on Thursday that it will file a suit to challenge their appointments as additional judges to remain in their posts. Read more

Ex-Bar presidents: Trivial, needless to snub Malaysia’s two top judges

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

Ragunath Kesavan said it was unnecessary to insist on a social boycott of the Chief Justice and Court of Appeal president.Pic by The Malay Mail Online.

The Malaysian Bar’s resolution to socially ostracise two top judges is relatively insignificant and unnecessary compared to its other moves to protest the duo’s allegedly unconstitutional appointments, said two former presidents.

Ragunath Kesavan, the Malaysian Bar president from 2009 to 2011, said such a social “boycott” would also affect other judges other than the actual targets, the Chief Justice and Court of Appeal president.

“My personal view is that it is unnecessary to insist on any form of a social boycott as although the boycott is only in relation to the CJ and PCA, any judge attending any function outside the judiciary would require the permission of the CJ.

“There are larger number of lawyers and judges now and the dissenting views within the judiciary is also welcomed and appreciated. It makes it very difficult for any judge to attend any function organised by the Bar,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted yesterday. Read more

Bar split on how hard it should fight judges’ term extensions

Source: The Malaysian Insight 

LAWYERS at the Malaysian Bar EGM yesterday were divided on how far they should take their objections to the term extensions of Chief Justice Raus Sharif and Court of Appeal president Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudun.

The lawyers told The Malaysian Insight a pair of resolutions proposed by Subang MP Sivarasa Rasiah in response to the extension of Raus and Zuklefli’s services on the bench was the subject of much debate.

Should the two judges accept the terms extension, Sivarasa proposed that all counsel apply to seek their recusal, and if such application fails, that all counsel decline to appear before them; and so long as they remain in office as chief justice and president of the Court of Appeal after attaining the age of 66 years and 6 months, Raus and Zulkefli will not be invited to any Malaysian Bar functions and events. Members of the Bar are also advised to decline social interaction with them.

Sivarasa confirmed such were his proposals at the EGM but declined to elaborate. Read more

Bar Council wants special panel of ex-judges for lawsuit against CJ’s extension

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 —The Bar Council will ask the Chief Judge of Malaya to appoint a special panel of former judges to hear its planned lawsuit to challenge the tenure extensions of Malaysia’s two most senior judges.

Malaysian Bar president George Varughese said the planned lawsuit to challenge the appointment of the Chief Justice and President of the Court of Appeal is “unprecedented”, adding that it was necessary to get a completely new panel of judges to avoid “conflict of interest”.

“Surely they will be in a position of conflict of interest if either of them were to preside over the bench which decides in respect of the legal challenge.

“In fact, we hold the view that all members of the current Federal Court will also be equally conflicted in presiding or deciding over such a challenge. Hence why we are urging the Chief Judge of Malaya to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to appoint additional judges specifically to hear this court matter,” he told reporters. Read more

Lawyers vote to sue against CJ’s extension, give cold shoulder

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 — Members of the Malaysian Bar today agreed to legally challenge the Chief Justice and Court of Appeal President’s extended tenures and to refrain from inviting both to social events and dinners.

Malaysian Bar president George Varughese confirmed that the majority of the 993 lawyers who attended the Bar’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) today voted in favour of the resolutions, and fewer than 10 people abstained or voted against the motion.

George, who proposed the motion that was voted in today, confirmed the lawsuit will be filed.

“Yes, one of the decisions today is to institute legal proceedings against these appointments which the Bar Council will do shortly,” he told reporters immediately after the closed-door EGM. Read more

CJ declines to recuse himself in historic application by Bar, two others

Source: FMT News 

PUTRAJAYA: No one in Malaysia’s legal history has ever applied for a chief justice to recuse himself from hearing a case – until today.

The Malaysian Bar and two government critics today applied to disqualify Chief Justice Raus Sharif from hearing their leave applications in their case against the attorney-general’s failure to prosecute Prime Minister Najib Razak over the RM2.6 billion donation.

However, the three-man bench of the Federal Court, chaired by Raus himself, dismissed the application, saying there was no merit to the case.

“However, rest assured that any decision will be made with two others based on facts and law,” he told lawyers for the applicants.

Others on the bench were justices Ahmad Maarop and Azahar Mohamed. Read more

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

‘CJ’s tenure extension proof of discrimination against Sabah, Sarawak’

Source: FMT News 

KUALA LUMPUR: There is a glass ceiling stopping Sabah and Sarawak judges from holding the nation’s top judiciary post, said Pakatan Harapan parliamentary leaders, who all appeared to share the same observation.

Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen said they came to this conclusion as the chief justice post had, for the past five decades, gone only to West Malaysian judges.

“The element of discrimination against Sabah and Sarawak was made more obvious in the case of denying Richard Malanjum the (chief justice) post, with the unconstitutional extension of Md Raus Sharif.”

Chong, who is Bandar Kuching MP, was speaking during a roundtable discussion on the extension of Raus’ chief justice tenure in the Parliament complex here today. Read more