Raus, Zulkefli quit as country’s top two judges

Chief Justice Tun Md Raus Sharif is pictured at the 2017 ‘Inns of Court Malaysia’ meeting (ICM) at the Palace of Justice, Putrajaya. December 12, 2017. — Bernama pic
Chief Justice Tun Md Raus Sharif is pictured at the 2017 ‘Inns of Court Malaysia’ meeting (ICM) at the Palace of Justice, Putrajaya. December 12, 2017. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 — Tun Raus Sharif and Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin have tendered their resignations as Chief Justice and President of the Court of Appeal.

Their resignations are effective July 31, the Chief Registrar’s Office said in a statement today.

According to the statement, both Raus and Zulkefli had met Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on May 15 — just a few days after the new government was voted in — and informed him of their intention to resign and asked for the resignation to take effect at a “reasonable” date to allow for their duties to be completed first.

“In line with such considerations, the Chief Justice of Malaysia and the President of the Court of Appeal had sent their respective resignation letters to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on June 7, 2018 and the resignation takes effect on July 31, 2018,” the statement said

The Chief Registrar’s Office also said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had on June 8 agreed to the resignations, with his royal assent notified through a June 11 letter from the private secretary of the Istana Negara’s royal affairs division.

Both Raus and Zulkefli had held their positions as Chief Justice and President of the Court of Appeal since April 1, 2017, with their term for these positions controversially extended past their constitutional retirement age under the Najib administration.

They were initially scheduled to end their term as Chief Justice and President of the Court of Appeal on August 3, 2017 and September 27, 2017 — which is also when they would hit the constitutional age limit of 66 years and six months old.

But the Prime Minister’s Office under Datuk Seri Najib Razak then had on July 7, 2017 announced the duo’s appointment as additional judges and the effective extension of their term as two of the country’s most powerful judges.

Under the July 7, 2017 announcement, Raus’s three-year extended term would have been due to end on August 4, 2020, while Zulkefli’s two-year extended term would have been due to end September 28, 2019.

There are currently several ongoing lawsuits by the Malaysian Bar, the Advocates’ Association of Sarawak and Dr Mahathir seeking the removal of Raus and Zulkefli from their positions.

Dr Mahathir’s lawsuits at the Court of Appeal have been put on hold, pending a decision by the Federal Court in the Malaysian Bar’s case.

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