KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 ― Retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohd Hishamudin Yunus said he was never promoted to the Federal Court because Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak did not agree with the recommendation by the Judicial Appointments Commission (JCA).
In an interview published in today’s Sunday Star, Hishamudin noted that his progress up the ranks was laggardly without reason, although it has been said that the former judge's many landmark decisions throughout his 23-year career may have impacted his promotions.
“But with regard to my non-promotion to the Federal Court, I was reliably informed that in early 2013, my name was recommended by the Judicial Appointments Committee to the Prime Minister, but the latter was not in favour of my elevation to the Federal Court,” Hishamudin was quoted saying.
Hishamudin who hails from Johol, Negeri Sembilan, had been a judge for 24 years from 1994.
He studied at the London School of Political Science, University of London and obtained a bachelor’s degree in of law, with honours.
He was then admitted as Barrister-At-Law at The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, London in 1973. He then pursued his master in law at the London School of Economics in 1978.
He began his legal career when he was appointed to the Judicial and Legal Service as as magistrate in Kuala Lumpur and held several posts including senior assistant registrar and deputy public prosecutor as well as Assistant Draftsman at the Drafting Division Unit in the Attorney-General’s Chambers and Legal Advisor for the state of Selangor.
He had been appointed as judicial commissioner in 1992 and a High Court judge in 1994, before being named a Court of Appeal judge in April 2009.
Among landmark decisions he delivered was the recent transgender case in which the Court of Appeal declared invalid the Negri Sembilan state Shariah enactment that criminalises Muslim men for cross-dressing.
Hishamudin said that his judgement on the transgender case was probably the best of his career.
“It is about the right of transgenders to wear dresses. It is about the validity of Section 66 of the Shariah Criminal Enactment 1992 of Negri Sembilan,” he said in the interview.
Another case was the 2-1 majority Court of Appeal decision declaring unconstitutional Section 15 (5)(a) of the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) 1971 which restricts students from expressing support of, or opposing, any political party.