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Friday, 4 August 2017

Malaysian Bar Council to challenge re-appointments of Chief Justice and Court of Appeal president


Bar Council to challenge re-appointments of Chief Justice and Court of Appeal president

RAHMAT KHAIRULRIJAL, JUNE MOH
New Straits TimesAugust 3, 2017






KUALA LUMPUR: The Bar Council today agreed that the reappointment of Chief Justice Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif and Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin as additional judges in the Federal Court were unconstitutional.

Council president George Varughese said a legal proceeding would be initiated to challenge the reappointment as this was in conflict with the Article 131A of the Federal Constitution and Section 9 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964.

“Their reappointment after they have exceeded 66 years old are null, void and unconstitutional.

“We urge Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop to assume the position of Chief Justice and advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V to appoint retired judges as additional judges of Federal Court to hear our challenge.

“Usually they (Federal Court) consist of a five-member panel but perhaps they can increase it to a seven or nine-member panel to determine this issue,” he said at a press conference after the council’s extraordinary general meeting at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

About 1,000 members attended the meeting.

George said the meeting had passed the motion on upholding the supremacy of the Federal Constitution and defending the independence and integrity of the judiciary.

He said the motion was passed with a resounding majority with less than 10 members abstained from voting.

George said the council would not invite Raus and Zulkefli at its social events.

“This is a part of our resolutions as a sign of protest but it does not mean that we do not engage with the judiciary in respect of all official matters,” he said, adding that the council would also declined social invitations from them.

On July 7, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that Raus and Zulkefli would be appointed as “additional” judges under Article 122 (1A) of the Federal Constitution when their extension expire so they could continue to serve in their positions.

On April 1, Raus was appointed as the 14th Chief Justice, replacing Tun Arifin Zakaria who retired after reaching the age of 66 years and six months on March 31.

Raus and Zulkefli turned 66 on Feb 4 and March 28, respectively, and were already on a six-month extension of service before they were appointed to their current positions five months ago.

Raus and Zulkefli’s extension ends, respectively, tomorrow (Aug 4) and on Sept 27

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