End of the road for Mahathir’s bid to challenge top judges’ appointments

Raus Sharif and Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin resigned their posts after the change of government last year. (Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s bid to challenge the validity of two former top judges’ appointments came to an end today after the Federal Court dismissed the prime minister’s application to proceed with the cases against former chief justice Raus Sharif and former Court of Appeal president Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin.

Mahathir, who filed the challenge before Pakatan Harapan’s election victory last year, had said that the constitution did not allow their appointments as they were beyond the retirement age of 66 years.

Federal Court judge Rohana Yusof, who chaired a three-member panel today, said there are no more live issues on the duo’s appointments.

“The questions have been answered in the Malaysian Bar’s case against them.

“We do not see a reason to depart from that,” she said, referring to another Federal Court case filed by the Bar.

The other two judges on the panel were Zawawi Salleh and Idrus Harun.

Raus and Zulkefli resigned on July 31, 2018, more than two months after the change of government last year.

They were given three and two-year extensions beyond the retirement age.

Mahathir’s lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla had earlier told the court that his client wished to proceed with the appeal on points of law.

“He hopes the judiciary will guide the executive on the constitutionality of such appointments,” he said when asked by Zawawi whether the prime minister wanted to pursue the appeal.

But senior federal counsel Alice Loke said the attorney-general viewed the issue as academic.

“It would be an exercise of futility,” she said.