The nation is facing its greatest Judicial crisis since the Tun Salleh Abbas debacle but how many of us are truly aware of what is really going on. I normally do not blog about political issues and like the majority of the easy going and non confrontational Malaysians, we normally leave such debates and issues to the politicians.
Most of us are so sick of the ruling government wagging the dog or the opposition making a mountain out of a mole hill for very trivial issues that we would go about our everyday life and as long as we can still get our nasi lemak, our shopping and our Astro channel, why waste our time and effort over something as unimportant as who will be appointed the Chief Justice?
But this issue really need all of us to have a second look at it and to understand the severity of the situation. Most of the time, reporting in the local media is half baked and often we do not get the fully story.
So I wish to summarise in the simplest manner possible so that others like me who was uncertain of the facts, have a better picture of the crisis which we are facing.
Who is the Chief Justice?
The Chief Justice is the head of the Malaysian Judiciary. He is the number one man and is appointed only by the His Majesty The Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister after consulting the Conference of Rulers.
Who is Tun Ahmad Fairuz?
Tun Ahmad Fairuz is the retiring Chief Justice who is obliged to mandatory retire on 31st October 2007.
What actually is the crisis all about?
The crisis arose from apparent unconstitutional maneuvers made by the ruling government to firstly consider to extend Tun Ahmad Fairuz’s term even-though it has very clear that it is mandatory for the Chief Justice to retire when he reaches 66 years old. This move was strongly challenged by the Bar Council who represents the lawyers, the opposition parties and also by members of the public.
Secondly, there is also a genuine fear in the Judicial circle that the ruling government is attempting to appoint an Umno lawyer, Tan Sri Zaki Azmi who was promoted to be a Federal Court Judge on the 5th September 2007, without even serving as a Judge in the lower courts namely; the Courts of Appeal and the High Court. This is similar to the military promoting someone to be a Colonel in the military without that person ever serving as a lower rank officer (Captain or Major).
Would you allow someone who has not served a Judge prior to September 2007 to be appointed as the Chief Justice of your country?
Who then should be the Chief Justice?
Logically, the number two man, Dato’ Abdul Hamid who is the President of the Court of Appeal would be the next Chief Justice. In an extra ordinary event, when another Judge is promoted, he would naturally be someone who has served as a Chief Judge of the High Court or an experienced Judge of the Federal Court but not someone who became a Judge only in September 2007.
How is the hierarchy of the Judicial System in Malaysia?
Basically, the Chief Justice is the head of the Judicial System and he sits as the head of the Federal Court which is the highest Court in the nation. Beneath the Federal Court lies the Court of Appeal and then the High Courts while the Magistrates Courts lie at bottom of the rung.
Chief Justice / Federal Court
Court of Appeal
Who are our current Judges?
CHIEF JUSTICE OF MALAYSIA
PRESIDENT OF THE COURT OF APPEAL
Dato’ Abdul Hamid
CHIEF JUDGE OF THE HIGH COURT IN MALAYA
CHIEF JUDGE OF THE HIGH COURT IN SABAH AND SARAWAK
Tan Sri Dato’ Richard Malanjum
JUDGES OF THE FEDERAL COURT OF MALAYSIA
1. Dato’ Arifin bin Zakaria
2. Dato’ Nik Hashim
3. Dato’ Augustine Paul
4. Dato’ Abdul Aziz
5. Dato’ Haji Hashim
6. Dato’ Azmel bin Haji Maamor
7. Dato’ Zulkefli bin Ahmad Makinudin
8. Tan Sri Dato’ Zaki bin Tun Azmi
JUDGES OF THE COURT OF APPEAL OF MALAYSIA
1. Dato’ Sri Ramachandra
2. Dato’ Haji Mokhtar bin Haji Sidin
3. Dato’ Wira Haji Mohd Ghazali
4. Tengku Baharudin Shah
5. Dato’ James Foong Cheng Yuen
6. Datin Paduka Zaleha bt. Zahari
7. Dato’ Wira Low Hop Bing
8. Dato’ Haji Suriyadi bin Halim Omar
9. Dato’ Md. Raus bin Sharif
10. Dato’ Abdull Hamid
11. Dato’ Zainun bt. Ali
12. Dato’ Hasan bin Lah
13. Dato’ Heliliah bt. Mohd Yusof
14. Dato’ Vincent Ng Kim Khoay
15. Dato’ Haji Abdul Malik
16. Dato’ Nihrumala Segara
17. Dato’ Abu Samah bin Nordin
18. Dato’ Wan Adnan
19. Dato’ Sulong bin Matjeraie
20. Dato’ Ahmad bin Haji Maarop
21. Dato’ Sulaiman bin Daud
JUDGES OF THE KUALA LUMPUR HIGH COURTS
1. Dato’ Selventhiranathan (Commercial Court)
2. Dato’ Kang Hwee Gee (Commercial Court)
3. Dato’ Ramly bin Haji Ali (Commercial Court)
4. Dato’ Rohana bt Yusuf (Commercial Court)
5. Datuk Siti Mariah (Commercial Court)
6. Dato’ Mohd. Hishamudin (Civil Court)
7. Dato’ Tee Ah Sing (Civil Court)
8. Dato’ Abdul Wahab bin Patail (Civil Court)
9. Dato’ Aziah Bt Ali (Civil Court)
10. Dato’ Haji Mohamed Apandi (Criminal Court)
11. Dato’ Mohamad Zabidin (Criminal Court)
12. Puan Lau Bee Lan (Appeals & Special Cases)
13. Dato’ Wan Afrah (Appeals & Special Cases)
14. Dato’ Tengku Maimun
15. Puan Lim Yee Lan
16. Puan Noor Azian bt. Shaari
JUDGES OF THE PENINSULAR MALAYSIA HIGH COURTS
17. Dato’ Syed Ahmad Helmy (Shah Alam)
18. Dato’ Su Geok Yiam (Shah Alam)
19. Dato’ Alizatul Khair (Shah Alam)
20. Dato’ Zaharah bt. Ibrahim (Shah Alam)
21. Dato’ Mohd Zaki (Shah Alam)
22. Puan Rosnaini Bt. Saub (Shah Alam)
23. Dato’ Haji Ghazali (Pulau Pinang)
24. Tuan John Louis O’hara (Pulau Pinang)
25. Dato’ Abdul Rahim bin Uda (Pulau Pinang)
26. Dato’ Balia Yusof (Pulau Pinang)
27. Dato’ Zainal Adzam (Alor Setar)
28. Dato’ Mohd. Sofian (Alor Setar)
29. Dato’ Muhamad Ideres (Ipoh)
30. Dato’ Abdul Kadir bin Musa (Ipoh)
31. Dato’ Thiripurasingam (Ipoh)
32. Dato’ Zakaria bin Sam (Taiping)
33. Dato’ Azhar bin Haji Ma’ah (Seremban)
34. Tuan Mokhtaruddin bin Baki (Melaka)
35. Dato’ Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha (Johor Bahru)
36. Dato’ Azahar bin Mohamed (Johor Bahru)
37. Tuan Abdul Alim (Johor Bahru)
38. Dato’ Hj. Abdul Halim (Kuantan)
39. Puan Suraya Binti Othman (Kuantan)
40. Dato’ Mohd. Azman (Kota Bharu)
JUDGES OF THE SABAH AND SARAWAK HIGH COURTS
41. Dato’ Ian Chin Hon Chong (Kota Kinabalu)
42. Dato’ Nurchaya (Kota Kinabalu)
43. Tuan Sangau Gunting (Sandakan)
44. Dato’ Clement Allan Skinner (Kuching)
45. Tuan David Wong Dak Wah (Kuching)
46. Dato’ Abdul Aziz (Miri)
47. Dato’ Linton Albert (Sibu)
48. Dato’ Zulkifli bin Bakar (Bintulu)