KOTA KINABALU, July 12 ― The “belated appointment” of Tan Sri Richard Malanjum as Chief Justice is an important milestone that restores constitutional integrity and propriety and to promote national unity in the country, said Lim Kit Siang.
The Iskandar Puteri MP said that Malanjum’s appointment righted an injustice that took place a year ago when the Prime Minister’s Department extended the tenure of Tan Sri Raus Sharif for the position instead of appointment Malanjum who was then the most senior Federal court judge in the country.
“I had said that it must be a matter of grave concern to all patriotic Malaysians that the integrity and sanctity of the Malaysian Constitution was receiving less and less respect from the powers-that-be ― the latest example being the illegal and unconstitutional extension of the tenures of Tan Sri Raus Sharif and Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin as Chief Justice and Court of Appeal President on August 3 and September 27, 2017 respectively.
“I said that the extension of the tenures of Raus and Zulkefli were not only unconstitutional, but would affect the promotional opportunities and prospects of at least eight Federal Court judges, including three women,” he said in a statement today.
But he said the most glaring injustice of the extensions was the the denial of Tan Sri Richard Malanjum as the first Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak to be appointed as Chief Justice of Malaysia.
Malanjum, who was sworn in yesterday for the position, is the first Sabah Bumiputera to be appointed a High Court judge on July 26, 2006, and the first Sabahan to be elevated as a Judge of the Court of Appeal and Federal Court , the apex court of the country, in 2005 at the age of 52.
Malanjum became the first Sabahan to be elevated as fourth Chief Judge of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak, a post that was previously held by a British, Peninsular Malaysian and Sarawak judge respectively.
Malanjum is more senior Federal Court judge than Raus and Zulkefli by six years, as both Raus and Zulkefli were only elevated as Federal Court judges in September 2011.