PETALING JAYA: PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim wants Prime Minister Najib Razak to reveal whether or not prominent lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah was involved in the extension of tenure for Chief Justice Raus Sharif and Court of Appeal President Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin.
In a statement issued today, Anwar claimed he had received information that Shafee had played an integral role in the extensions.
“I understand that Shafee was involved in preparing the legal viewpoint and basis to decide on Raus and Zulkefli’s extension of service,” he said.
“In view of this, Najib must immediately confirm if this is true or otherwise.”
He said this was especially pertinent since the three-year and two-year extensions for Raus and Zulkefli respectively had met with negative feedback as to whether the move had violated the Federal Constitution.
He also noted that former Federal Court judges and the Malaysian Bar had interpreted the move as breaching the constitution.
“This is a critical issue as it involves the people’s right to an independent judiciary. If (the claim is) true, this must be disclosed to the public in a transparent manner,” he said.
On Saturday, former Malaysian Bar president Zainur Zakaria called the extensions an unusual measure taken by the government and claimed the constitutionality of their appointments would likely be open to a legal challenge.
Yesterday, senior lawyer Jagjit Singh said the appointments of Raus and Zulkefli as additional judges were valid and made in tandem with the extension of their current tenures.
On Friday, the Prime Minister’s Office revealed that Raus will continue to hold his position for another three years from Aug 4 while Zulkefli would also have his appointment extended for another two years from Sept 28.
FMT’s attempts to contact Shafee for comment failed.