Raus staying on as CJ hurts judiciary, says ex-MP

Chief Justice Raus Sharif (right) and appeal court president Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin have resigned and will step down on July 31. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Chief Justice Raus Sharif has been urged by a former MP to leave immediately and not wait to serve out his notice because his continued presence in office and his “dismal record on human rights” would obstruct the recovery of the judiciary.

N Surendran of PKR, a lawyer and former MP for Padang Serai, said that Raus had, in the past, made decisions in favour of the previous Barisan Nasional government in cases where the basic rights of the people were threatened through executive action or legislation.

“His judgments were regressive, and had the clear effect of upholding the excesses and transgressions of the then BN regime,” said Surendran in a statement today.

He said Pakatan Harapan had made election campaign promises to restore public trust in the judiciary, which had suffered under BN rule. Such restoration of trust could not happen while Raus remains the CJ, he said.

Earlier this month, Raus and Court of Appeal president Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin had tendered their resignations from July 31.

They had been under pressure from members of the new government and the legal fraternity after their contracts were controversially extended for three and two years respectively by the previous government shortly before the general election.

They had asked that their resignations take effect over a reasonable period to allow all judicial affairs to be completed.

Surendran’s statement listed a number of cases as examples of Raus’s regressive decisions.

Among them was a Federal Court decision in 2014 to jail PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim for five years on a sodomy charge. Surendran, who was a member of Anwar’s legal team, said the judgement had been globally condemned and shattered the judiciary’s reputation.

In another case, Raus had overturned a landmark decision that struck down a requirement of 10 days’ notice for public assemblies, leading to a spate of arrests or prosecutions of opposition and civil society leaders.

Raus as the presiding judge had also rejected a constitutional challenge on the Peaceful Assembly Act without even hearing the merits, Surendran said.

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