Tengku Maimun named new chief justice

Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat is Malaysia’s first woman chief justice. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Federal Court judge Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat has been named the new chief justice, becoming the country’s first woman to hold the top judicial post.

Tengku Maimun takes over from Richard Malanjum, whose tenure ended on April 12.

The Prime Minister’s Office said the appointment has received the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Council of Rulers, based on Article 122B of the Federal Constitution.

Maimun, who was appointed a Judicial Commissioner at the Kuala Lumpur High Court in 2006, begins her tenure today.

In 2007, she was appointed a High Court judge, and in 2013, a Court of Appeal judge. She was appointed a Federal Court judge on Nov 26, 2018.

It was previously reported that the government was waiting for the approval of the Malay Rulers on the appointment of a new chief justice.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said this in response to reports claiming that he and the Malay Rulers were in a stalemate over the appointment.

Malanjum, who served as chief justice for nine months, retired on April 13, after 27 years in the judiciary.

Prior to being chief justice, he had served as the chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak for 12 years.

In January 2018, Maimun was part of a three-man Court of Appeal bench which quashed the home ministry’s order banning four books authored by novelist and academic Mohd Faizal Musa, who is better known as Faisal Tehrani.

The bench found that the home ministry’s order was not in accordance with Section 7 (1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.

It added that banning the books was a restriction on Faisal’s fundamental right to freedom of speech.