Lawyer seeks judicial review of Raus’ appointment as chief justice

Raus-SharifKOTA KINABALU: The Kota Kinabalu High Court will hear an application for leave for judicial review on Oct 17 regarding the appointment, or continuation, of Md Raus Sharif as the Chief Justice of Malaysia on Aug 5.

The application was made by lawyer Marcel Jude A/L M S Joseph. Raus was named the sole respondent.

Marcel seeks an order of certiorari to quash Raus’ appointment as the Chief Justice or continuing as the Chief Justice from Aug 5 this year.

He also seeks a declaration that such appointment or continuation of service is unlawful and unconstitutional and contravenes Article 121(1) of the Federal Constitution regarding the coordinate jurisdiction of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak and the High Court of Malaya.

Marcel is also seeking a declaration that the person who should be rightfully appointed the Chief Justice of Malaysia after Aug 5 is Richard Malanjum, the current Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak.

The issue has been a prickly subject for Sabahans and Sarawakians and has been heavily politicised, especially by the opposition parties, since it was made known in July that Raus would be retained in the position.

Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen and Sandakan MP Stephen Wong had questioned whether the re-appointment meant judges from the Borneo states, despite their seniority, were inferior or of lesser status than the judges from West Malaysia.

The MPs were referring to Malanjum who was elevated to the post of Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak in 2006, which made him more senior than Raus who was only appointed to the Federal Court in 2009.

Raus’ position, extended for another three years until 2020, has also been viewed as unconstitutional by the Malaysian Bar, especially when there are other Federal Court judges who are equally capable of filling the posts – and that includes Malanjum.

Parti Warisan Sabah Deputy President Darell Leiking said Malanjum might have been overlooked because of his reputation as an impartial judge.

“This could land Putrajaya in trouble over issues of compliance with the Malaysia Agreement 1963,” he had said in July.

Leiking also warned that the BN might lose votes in the Borneo states for the government’s failure to choose Malanjum for the post.

Many in the legal fraternity, including two retired judges, had also come out in the open to declare that Raus should not remain in the position after the mandatory retirement age of 66 with a maximum extension of six months.

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had also taken the matter to court, challenging the appointment of Raus as chief justice.