PETALING JAYA: A retired judge has urged the incoming chief justice (CJ) to elevate competent judges to reflect a strong bench and inspire public confidence in the judiciary.
Gopal Sri Ram said the nation’s top judge must first identify and remove judges who display a lack of judicial independence in cases brought against former prime minister Najib Razak and his administration.
“Some of these cases involved sufficient material to allow them to go to trial.
“In some cases, the judges bent backwards to save Najib and the Election Commission, particularly in cases involving the delimitation of constituencies,” he added.
Sri Ram was responding to news that the appointments of the CJ and other positions in the judiciary will be discussed at the Conference of Rulers next week.
FMT understands that names have been submitted to the rulers for their deliberation and confirmation.
Incumbent CJ Raus Sharif and Court of Appeal president Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin have tendered their resignations, effective July 31.
Speaking to FMT, Sri Ram said the incoming CJ would also have to identify intellectually weak judges and judicial commissioners and ask them to resign.
“This is not very difficult because these persons either do not write judgments or they write judgments that reveal a significant lack of basic legal principles,” he said.
Thirdly, he said, the CJ would have to promote judges in the High Court and Court of Appeal who were sidelined for demonstrating judicial independence.
The CJ must also look at strengthening the Court of Appeal by promoting sound judges from the High Court, he said.
“Meaning no disrespect, but some judges presently in the Court of Appeal really do not deserve to be there as their knowledge of fundamental principles is lacking,” he added.
Sri Ram said justices Azizul Azmi Adnan, Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali, Mohd Firuz Jaffril, Lau Bee Lan, Wong Kien Keong, Darryl Goon and S Nantha Balan were some of those from the High Court who deserved elevation to the Court of Appeal.