Amanah sues to revoke Chief Justice's appointment, challenge right to office

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, Nov 1 ― Parti Amanah Negara today filed a lawsuit to ask the courts to cancel Chief Justice (CJ) Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif's appointment and to challenge his right to hold the position past his constitutional retirement age.

Abang Ahmad Kerdee Abang Masagus, Amanah's deputy secretary-general, is seeking six court orders, including declarations that Raus' appointments as an additional judge in the Federal Court and as CJ are unconstitutional and invalid.

He is also applying for writ quo warranto or orders to ask Raus to provide confirmation of how and on whose authority was he still continuing on as an additional judge and as CJ.

He also asked for a certiorari order or court order to quash Raus's August 4 appointments as additional judge and CJ, as well as a mandatory injunction order or court order to stop Raus from carrying out his functions or duties in either positions.

In an affidavit filed to support his lawsuit, Abang Ahmad Kerdee explained that the judicial review was filed in his capacity as the named public officer of Amanah, adding that he felt the political party had sufficient interests for lawful and valid judicial appointments as it was often exposed to court proceedings.

Pointing out that Raus had reached the Federal Constitution's mandatory retirement age of 66 years old as a Federal Court judge on February 4, Abang Ahmad Kerdee said his tenure was extended an additional six months after royal consent until August 4.

But he argued that Raus should have retired on August 4 after the six months' extension period ended, instead of being appointed an additional judge and reappointed to the CJ position.

“I have been informed by my lawyers and I truly believe someone like the respondent who was appointed as chief justice for the first time on 30.3.2017 cannot be appointed for the second time as chief justice,” he said, adding that Raus should only have had his tenure as CJ extended and with that extension to only be within that additional six months.

“Because the six months' period had ended on 4.8.2017, the respondent's position as chief justice also automatically ended on 4.8.2017 and cannot be extended again,” he said.

Arguing that Raus was appointed as additional judge in the Federal Court on the advice of Tun Arifin Zakaria who was no longer CJ then, he said this would invalidate the appointments to both roles.

“Based on the reasons above, it is clear the respondent does not have any authority to continue holding the positions of additional judge of the Federal Court or chief justice because those appointments are null and void,” he said.

Abang Ahmad Kerdee clarified that his lawsuit was not aimed at questioning Md Raus's capability or legal knowledge, but was instead intended to ensure the Federal Constitution is upheld by all.

He urged the courts to approach this matter as a case of “public interest”, as the legality and constitutionality of Md Raus's appointments have become a controversial topic of hot debate.

In the lawsuit filed this morning at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, Md Raus was named as the sole respondent.

Federal Opposition Pakatan Harapan's chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Malaysian Bar had also filed separate lawsuits challenging Md Raus's appointment as an additional judge in the Federal Court and as CJ.

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