Judicial commissioners’ probation limited to two years

The new judges after being presented their instruments of appointment by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at Istana Negara today. Also present was the Raja Permaisuri Agong. (Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: The probation period for judicial commissioners (JCs) will be limited to two years under a new policy, Chief Justice Richard Malanjum said.

Malanjum said that in the past, these judges were on probation for between three and six years, “which was rather long”.

“From now on, it is up to two years. There will be no more extension of the probation period. The candidate has to make the cut or leave,” he told reporters after attending the elevation ceremony of 10 JCs who were confirmed as High Court judges.

He said the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) recommended candidates for promotion based on their ability to write judgments, judicial temperament and disposal of cases.

Malanjum, who is also the JAC chairman, said that in the recent exercise, six JCs failed to “cross the line” as the commission was strict in its vetting exercise.

Earlier, he apologised to some of the JCs who were only made judges after being in probation for more than two years, he said:

“In future, if JCs do not meet the target, they will have to leave to enter private practice or retire,” said the top judge, who will retire this week.

He said this is the new policy as the four eminent persons on the commission were “very strict”.

“That is the reason quite a number of them did not get through this time. We extend our sympathy and apology but what to do, that is life,” he said.

Malanjum also advised judges to provide short written grounds for everyone to understand.

“Keep it simple for it to be understood by ordinary human beings and do not write a thesis for Cambridge or Oxford University,” he said.

He also advised the new judges to always be mindful of their surroundings as they were appointed to serve the people and country.

“Do the right thing. Exercise your discretion and use common sense. We must not live in our own world, otherwise we will not be in sync with society,” he said.

He also advised judges to refrain from using transparency to destroy the judiciary.

“Not that we must be opaque all the time. The institution survives on public confidence,” he added.

Rozana Ali Yusoff, Abu Bakar Katar, Hayatul Akmal Abdul Aziz, Faizah Jamaludin, Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid, Wong Chee Lin and Darryl Goon Siew Chye took their oaths of office before Chief Judge of Malaya Zaharah Ibrahim.

Ismail Ibrahim, Dean Wayne Daly and Celestine Stuel Galid took their oaths before Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak David Wong Dak Wah.