KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 — With just a few weeks to go to the end of his tenure, Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum has repeatedly faced a barrage of questions over the identity of his successor.
In good humour today, the top judge departed from his usual response that he cannot comment on the matter as the appointment is the prerogative of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
“I can’t remember. No seriously, I can’t remember. Got a bit of amnesia,” he told reporters when asked if his successor has been identified.
He then laughed, winked and bid goodbye to reporters.
Malanjum yesterday declined to comment on either his impending retirement or his replacement, reiterating that the matter was the King’s prerogative.
Asked if the government is under pressure to appoint a Malay-Muslim as the next chief justice given the current political climate, Malanjum said such judicial appointments are by the country’s ruler.
He declined to comment when asked if his tenure would be extended or if a successor has been identified.
Malanjum turned 66 last October 13, and is currently serving a six-month extension allowed under the Federal Constitution until early next month.
When asked if the upcoming retirement of the top four judges would affect the judiciary, Malanjum said there are currently “more than enough” judges in the superior courts and that new judges are being appointed.
As of March 1, the Judicial Appointments Commission’s website states that there are 121 judges — including judicial commissioners — at the High Court, Court of Appeal and Federal Court, with 32 vacancies for judges.