Cabinet agrees Judicial and Legal Services be separated


PETALING JAYA: Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria has received approval from the cabinet to shake up the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, The Star reported today.

The main reason behind this step is to separate the two branches of the commission, namely Judicial Services and Legal Services, and place it under two separate heads.

The commission currently comprises prosecutors as well as subordinate court judges, namely magistrates and sessions court judges.

The Judicial and Legal Service Commission is currently headed by the Attorney-General, hence Arifin calls this arrangement inappropriate as it could create the appearance of a conflict of interest.

“The prosecutors are all under the AG, and they appear before a sessions court judge or magistrate who is under the same service where the AG is the head. It doesn’t look good, does it?

“With respect, we disagree with this,” Arifin was quoted as saying by the daily, at a press conference after the launch of his book, Justice Above All: Selected Judgments of Tun Arifin Zakaria With Commentaries, in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He added that the AG should still head the Legal Services side and recommended the Chief Registrar of Federal Court to head the Judicial Services.

“They will all still come under one service but will be in two divisions, so that there won’t be any appearance of conflict of interest.

“It’s about separation of powers, that’s why we want to have two separate heads, so that we can avoid this conflict of interest,” Arifin said, according to The Star.

Arifin had first made the call for this separation of the Judicial Services and Legal Services in the commission last July.

However, he said the post of superior court judges, that is from the High Court level and higher, are not affected as they come under a different system of judicial appointment.