PETALING JAYA: Three serving judges appear to be in Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s consideration for appointment as the next attorney-general (AG), sources say.
They are Federal Court judge Zabidin Diah and Court of Appeal judges Yaacob Sam and Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil.
A source said the three have all the credentials to occupy the position as they have handled criminal and civil cases both as judges and also during their stint in the judicial and legal service.
“Knowledge and experience in civil and criminal laws are vital as the AG is chief legal adviser to the government.
“The AG also doubles up as a public prosecutor as stated in the Federal Constitution and the Criminal Procedure Code.
“A highly qualified person is needed as he needs to handle high-profile criminal cases,” the source added.
The late Mohtar Abdullah, Apandi Ali and present office holder Idrus Harun also rose from the bench to be appointed AG.
Zabidin is currently the acting Chief Judge of Malaya following a vacancy which arose when Azahar Mohamed retired two months ago.
He was appointed a judicial commissioner in 2004 before becoming a High Court judge in 2006.
Zabidin was promoted to Court of Appeal judge in 2018 and elevated to sit on the Federal Court bench earlier this year.
Yaacob and Abdul Karim are currently the top two senior Court of Appeal judges.
Yaacob was appointed a judicial commissioner in 2009 and became a High Court judge the following year.
He was also the chairman and member of the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) from 2014 to 2017.
He was elevated as a Court of Appeal judge in 2017.
Abdul Karim was appointed a judicial commissioner in 2012 and made a High Court judge in 2014.
He was elevated to sit on the Court of Appeal in 2016.
Idrus’ contract is set to expire in March.
However, FMT understands that he is prepared to leave office earlier if Anwar has identified a suitable replacement.
Article 145 (1) of the Federal Constitution states that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall on the advice of the prime minister appoint a person who is qualified to be a judge as AG.
Under Article 123 of the constitution, a citizen who has practised law or has been in the judicial and legal service, or a combination of both, for at least 10 years is qualified to be appointed as AG.