Minister moots constitutional amendment to let judges retire at 70

Datuk Liew Vui Keong said today that the federal government will table a Bill in the next Parliament meeting to increase judges’ retirement age to 70. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Datuk Liew Vui Keong said today that the federal government will table a Bill in the next Parliament meeting to increase judges’ retirement age to 70. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Oct 8 — The federal government will table a Bill in the next Parliament meeting to increase judges’ retirement age to 70, Datuk Liew Vui Keong said today.

The de facto law minister said this proposal required amending Article 125 of the Federal Constitution, which requires two-thirds majority in Parliament, to increase the retirement age from 66.

“The amendment to Article 125 of the Federal Constitution will be tabled together with the amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution,” he said at a dinner here.

Article 1(2) of the Constitution lists the 13 states in the Malaysian federation, including Sabah and Sarawak.

Liew said he strongly believed that judicial reforms should include the change of judges’ retirement age.

“In other countries, such as Australia and United Kingdom, the judges retire at the age of 70 and in fact, there is a proposal in Australia that judges shall retire at the age of 80 provided they pass a medical inspection.

“Recently, the Supreme Court Judge of India, Justice Kurian Joseph, also urged the Indian government to raise the retirement age of judges to 70.

“As we can see, this is a global issue which shall be taken into great consideration by the government,” Liew said.

On the proposed amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to restore the status of Sarawak and Sabah as equal partners to Malaya in the formation of Malaysia in 1963, he said it was a follow up to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s speech in Kota Kinabalu on September 16 this year.

“In other words, Sabah and Sarawak will get their status back as defined under Article 4 of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

He said the amendment to Article 1(2) in 1976 had downgraded the status of the two Borneo states to be among the 13 states in Malaysia.

The de facto law minister said he was committed to put 100 per cent effort to fulfil the law reform agenda as well as matters pertaining to Sabah and Sarawak, specifically mentioned in the 4th Core of the Pakatan Harapan Manifesto.

Liew said he could not deny the importance of support from all Sabah and Sarawak MPs in amending the constitutional provisions in Parliament.

“It requires a strong political will and we must put aside our political differences for the future of our next generation,” he said.

He said it was his hope that all Malaysians remained united in amending Article 125 and Article 1(2) of the Constitution, as well as to rectify the injustices suffered by Sabah and Sarawak for the past three decades.

“Let’s all be part of this history and together we shall strive for a new hope and better Malaysia,” he added.

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