Sabah Law Society to hold EGM on judges’ appointments

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PETALING JAYA: The Sabah Law Society will mirror its peninsular counterpart, the Malaysian Bar, in holding an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on the government’s decision to retain two top judges in their administrative posts.

Its president Brenndon Keith Soh said the EGM would be held soon.

“We will let you know in due course the date of our intended EGM.

“We will need to provide 14 days’ notice to our members,” he told FMT in a WhatsApp message.

Keith said he would also attend the Bar EGM in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow.

Advocates Association of Sarawak president Ranbir Singh Sangha and committee member Leslie Linton will represent lawyers from the state as observers at the EGM.

“We will be there to observe how and what the EGM decides,” Ranbir told FMT.

He said lawyers in the states may also call for a special meeting to discuss the issue.

Ranbir said the association has four branches in Bintulu, Miri, Sibu and Kuching, and that each entity has to hold its own EGM.

“Then the association will have to hold a biennial delegates’ conference to take a stand on the appointments of the judges,” he said.

In a joint statement last week, the society and association urged Chief Justice Raus Sharif and Court of Appeal president Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin to reconsider remaining in office after their mandatory retirement age to avoid the likelihood of an erosion of public confidence in the judiciary.

Two motions, including one by the Bar Council, will be debated at the Bar EGM although the council had earlier taken the stand that the appointments of Raus and Zulkefli were “blatantly unconstitutional”.

The EGM will be held at 4pm at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall. The quorum required to start the meeting is 500 members.

On July 7, the king accepted former chief justice Arifin Zakaria’s advice to appoint Raus and Zulkefli as additional judges.

The king, on the advice of the prime minister and after consulting the Conference of Rulers which met in May, also appointed Raus and Zulkefli to remain in their present posts.

Raus’ tenure is for three years from Aug 4 while Zulkefli will remain in his current administrative post for two years from Sept 28.

This afternoon, Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders submitted a memorandum to the king, seeking his intervention to stop the reappointments of Raus and Zulkefli, which they claimed were unconstitutional.

PH chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad said based on the Federal Constitution, the tenures of Raus and Zulkelfi could not be extended once the incumbents reached the age of 66 years and six months.

He added that the two appointments were made by the king on the advice of the prime minister, hence the king had the right to present the matter to the courts for a decision before it comes into effect.

The former prime minister said if the matter was not immediately addressed, it could result in a judicial crisis as decisions after Aug 4 would become invalid.