Top judges Raus, Zulkefli step down

Raus Sharif (right) and Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin.

PUTRAJAYA: Chief Justice Raus Sharif and Court of Appeal president Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin have tendered their resignations effective July 31.

According to a statement from the Chief Registrar’s Office, the resignation letters were sent to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Friday.

The statement said the palace had replied in a letter dated Monday (June 11) that the king had accepted their resignations.

It added that Raus and Zulkefli had met Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on May 15 to express their intention to vacate their positions.

“However, they informed the prime minister that their resignations would take effect over a reasonable period to allow all judicial affairs to be completed.”

Raus and Zulkefli had been under pressure to step down since last July, when the previous government announced that they would remain in their posts past the mandatory retirement age of 66 years and six months prescribed in the Federal Constitution.

The pressure mounted on Monday, with the Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) joining in the calls for their resignation.

AAS president Ranbir Singh Sangha said given the recent developments in the country, it had become untenable for them to continue holding their current posts.

In Tokyo yesterday, Mahathir said the Council of Eminent Persons had indicated to the two judges that it would be good if they were to resign.

Otherwise, he said, the government might have to take action to remove them because “we believe that the extension of their office as senior judges was not right”.

Malaysian Bar president George Varughese had also called on Raus and Zulkefli to step down as the Barisan Nasional government that had recommended and defended their appointments was no longer in power.

Last year, Mahathir filed a judicial review to declare their appointments unlawful, but the action was dismissed. He has since filed an appeal.

Raus and Zulkefli were appointed to their positions on April 1 last year, and were scheduled to retire on Aug 3 and Sept 27 respectively.

On July 7, however, the previous government announced that Raus would remain in office for three more years from Aug 4, while Zulkefli would remain in his post for two more years from Sept 28.

Sri Ram to Daim: Not your place to call up top judges

Sarawak lawyers group calls for top 2 judges to step down