PETALING JAYA: Former Court of Appeal judge Hishamudin Yunus has been appointed as a member of the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) effective Sept 4.
Hishamudin, who has served in various capacities including as president of the Sessions Court, deputy public prosecutor, and chief registrar of the Supreme Court, was appointed to the JAC by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The JAC, which was formed in 2009, is to ensure that the selection process of judicial candidates for the prime minister’s consideration is free of bias and prejudice.
Hishamudin was appointed as a judicial commissioner in 1992 and a High Court judge in 1994 before being elevated to the Court of Appeal where he remained until his retirement in 2015.
In 2013, he was nominated to the Federal Court by the JAC, but this was rejected by then-prime minister Najib Razak.
Hishamudin is known for striking out as unconstitutional a provision in a Negeri Sembilan state shariah enactment which punished Muslim men for cross-dressing. This was done in 2014.
In 2011, in a majority Court of Appeal judgment concerning the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971, he held that Section 15 (5)(a) of the act which prohibits students from expressing support for or opposition against any political party contradicted the right to free speech enshrined in the constitution.
In 2001, he ordered the release of two Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees who had participated in the Reformasi movement after the dismissal of Anwar Ibrahim.
He also proposed that the Parliament review and abandon or amend the ISA, and made a rare ruling by awarding a former ISA detainee RM2.5 million for wrongful detention by the police.