Be lions, display loyalty to rule of law, not superiors, CJ tells judges

Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat expects judges to manage and dispose of cases efficiently, have good judicial temperament and produce quality written judgments.

PUTRAJAYA: Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat said judges are lions in their own den and need not show loyalty to their superiors.

“The chief justice, Court of Appeal president, chief judges (CJ) of Malaya and, Sabah and Sarawak are not your bosses, like in an agency or department, who give directives,” she said.

Tengku Maimun said these four administrators were only “the first among equals” in the judicial hierarchy.

Judicial commissioners (JCs) need not demonstrate their loyalty to their immediate bosses and the government before elevation as High Court judges, she added.

“The loyalty that is expected from you is allegiance to defend the principle of the separation of powers, independence of the judiciary and uphold the rule of law,” she said in her speech after witnessing the appointments of 13 JCs here today.

Tengku Maimun said she was aware that certain quarters were apprehensive that a probation period for JCs would be a test of loyalty and that this could erode confidence in the judiciary.

“The Judicial Appointments Commission has decided one will be on probation for two years and promotions will be based on performance,” she said.

“This includes whether the judge can manage and dispose of cases, has good judicial temperament and produces quality written judgments.”

She said there would be no extension beyond the two-year period.

Tengku Maimun said rulings should be made according to the evidence before the court, not based on external and internal pressures from the media or from individual judges.

George Varughese, Khairil Azmi Mohamad Hasbie, Aslam Zainuddin, Norsharidah Awang, Julie Lack, Frederick Indran X A Nicholas, Nadzarin Wok Nordin, Quay Chew Soon, Wong Hok Chong, Atan Mustaffa Yussof Ahmad and Anand Ponnudurai took their oath of office before Chief Judge of Malaya Azahar Mohamed.

Leonard David Shim and Wong Siong Tung took their oath before Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak David Wong Dak Wah.