Women judges set to rock Federal Court

(From left) Mary Lim Thiam Suan, Rhodzariah Bujang and Harmindar Singh Dhaliwal are expected to be elevated to the Federal Court next week. (Chief Registrar’s Office Federal Court of Malaysia pic)

PETALING JAYA: Three Court of Appeal judges, including two women, will be elevated to the Federal Court next week, sources said.

They are Mary Lim Thiam Suan, Rhodzariah Bujang and Harmindar Singh Dhaliwal.

Their promotion to the apex court will create several records in the Malaysian judiciary.

First, the elevation of Lim and Rhodzariah will result in eight of the 14 Federal Court judges being women, the highest number ever.

The Federal Court provides for 15 appointments, which include the four administrative positions in the judiciary such as that of chief justice.

“This is more than 50% of the total number of judges in the highest court in the land,” the sources said.

In May last year, Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat became the first woman to hold the position of chief justice, while another woman, Rohana Yusof, also created history when she was made Court of Appeal president in December last year.

The other female judges in the apex court are Nallini Pathmanathan, Zaleha Yusuf, Zabariah Mohd Yusof and Hasnah Mohammed Hashim.

The male judges are Chief Judge of Malaya Azahar Mohamed, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, Mohd Zawawi Salleh, Vernon Ong Lam Kiat and Abdul Rahman Sebli.

For the first time, three judges from Sarawak will be sitting in the Federal Court – Abang Iskandar, Rahman and Rhodzariah.

In the past, there were only a maximum of two judges from the Bornean states, and one would be from Sabah.

Also for the first time, there will be four non-Muslim judges – Nallini, Ong, Mary and Harminder. Previously, the maximum was two.

High Court judges Mohd Soffian Abdul Razak, Supang Lian, Lee Heng Cheong, Ahmad Nasfy Yasin, Che Mohd Ruzima Ghazali, M Gunalan, Nordin Hassan and Daryl Goon Siew Chye are expected to be elevated to the Court of Appeal.

Several lawyers and members of the Judicial and Legal Services are also expected to be appointed judicial commissioners, said the sources.

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