Hearing for Dr M's bid to cancel chief justice's extension on Oct 24

Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif receives his instrument of appointment from Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V at Bilik Singgahsana Kecil, Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur. Picture released August 5, 2017. ― Bernama pic
Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif receives his instrument of appointment from Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V at Bilik Singgahsana Kecil, Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur. Picture released August 5, 2017. ― Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's lawsuit effectively seeking the revocation of Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif’s reappointment as the Chief Justice will be heard on October 24, his lawyer said today.

Dr Mahathir's lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said the government is expected to raise an objection to the lawsuit.

“They would be saying we have not crossed the threshold to direct the prime minister to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in order to revoke or terminate the extension of Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif,” he told reporters after case management before High Court judge Datuk Kamaludin Md Said.

Datuk Amarjeet Singh, who heads the Attorney-General's Chambers' civil division, confirmed that he would be raising the preliminary objection that Dr Mahathir had not crossed the legal threshold required to proceed with the lawsuit.

The three respondents named in Dr Mahathir’s application for leave for judicial review are Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the federal government, and Raus.

Dr Mahathir had sought a mandamus order, or court order, to compel the prime minister and federal government to immediately render advice under the Federal Constitution’s Articles 40(1) and 40(1A) for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to revoke or terminate Md Raus’s appointment as Chief Justice for another three years from this August 4.

Dr Mahathir, the nation’s longest-serving prime minister, also asked for a court order to stay Md Raus from carrying out any of his functions as the Chief Justice until the end of the lawsuit.

The lawsuit by Dr Mahathir, who is the chairman of both his party Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Opposition pact Pakatan Harapan, cited four grounds based on constitutional provisions.

Dr Mahathir argued that the Federal Constitution’s Article 125(1) does not allow someone who is aged 66 years and six months to be appointed as Chief Justice, while also asserting that Article 122 does not allow any “additional judges” of the Federal Court to be appointed to the Federal Court’s top four posts — including the Chief Justice position.

He also argued that Article 122(1A) disallows the giving of advice to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for the appointment of an “additional judge” before the judge actually retires, also arguing that the same clause does not allow a Chief Justice to give advice to the ruler for such appointments before his own retirement.

The Prime Minister’s Office’s July 7 announcement on the extension of Raus and Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin’s terms as two of the country’s most powerful judges past the constitutional age limit was met with protests from the legal community.

The Malaysian Bar voted at an extraordinary general meeting recently to mount a legal challenge in court against the duo’s appointment as “additional judges” extended tenures beyond their retirement age of 66 years and six months, which the professional body of lawyers deemed as unconstitutional.

Md Raus had on August 4 taken his oath as the Chief Justice for the next three years.