Hornbill Unleashed

August 10, 2017

Sarawak lawyers’ group to make stand on judges’ appointments

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:02 AM

judge-Raus-Sharif-Advocates-Association-of-SarawakThe Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) is to also take a stand on the two top judicial officers who were appointed as additional judges to remain in their administrative posts.

Its president, Ranbir Singh Sangha, said the AAS would hold an extraordinary delegates’ conference in Kuching on Aug 28 to determine the next course of action.

“We will put forward several options for the delegates’ consideration and this includes whether the AAS should file legal action in court,” he said.

Ranbir said the other choice would be to join the Sabah Law Society (SLS) and the peninsular-based Malaysian Bar to initiate a law suit against relevant parties.

He said the AAS would not lobby its members from the four branches in Bintulu, Miri, Sibu and Kuching to take specific action or boycott Chief Justice Raus Sharif and Court of Appeal president Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin.

He said the four branches would first have to hold their emergency general meetings (EGMs) to decide on the positions of Raus and Zulkefli.

“But the early indication is that the branches are all for some sort of action to be initiated as they had also endorsed a joint press statement issued by the AAS and SLS,” he said.

In a press release two weeks ago, both the Borneo lawyers’ groups urged Raus and Zulkefli to reconsider remaining in office after their mandatory retirement age to avoid the likelihood of an erosion of public confidence in the judiciary.

The SLS would also hold an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on the government’s decision to retain Raus and Zulkefli.

Its president, Brenndon Keith Soh, said the EGM date should be decided after members were given a 14-day notice.

Last week, representatives from the AAS and the society were in Kuala Lumpur as observers to follow the Bar proceedings which overwhelmingly decided to challenge the appointment of both judges.

The government announced on July 7 that Raus’ tenure is for three years from Aug 4 while Zulkefli will remain in his current administrative post for two years from Sept 28.

In his maiden press conference last Saturday, Raus defended his reappointment, citing that while the move was unprecedented everything was done according to law.

He said it was best for the courts to decide since there were two conflicting views on the matter.

Lawyers and retired judges have argued that the constitution did not allow additional judges to double up as holders of administrative positions.

Retired chief justice Zaki Azmi, who argued that the appointments were valid, said the provision for additional judges were utilised as Raus and Zulkefli had only been in their positions since April 1.

Further, he said a constitutional provision that allowed judges to remain in office up to 66 years of age plus six months’ of extension was archaic compared with other Commonwealth countries.


Source : FMT Online by V Anbalagan


 

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