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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Shafee rubbishes Anwar's claim of involvement in CJ's extension

The lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah has rubbished PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim’s claim that he was involved in the extension of the tenures of Chief Justice Md Raus Sharif and Court of Appeal President Justice Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin.
“Anwar can say whatever he likes. I’m not responding to that because I think it is a lot of rubbish. That’s it,” he told Malaysiakini curtly when asked about the allegation.
He was met outside the Federal Court in Putrajaya today.
Anwar claimed on Monday that Shafee was involved in the preparation of the legal justification for Raus and Zulkefli’s controversial tenure extension.
“In view of this, (Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak) must immediately confirm if this is true or otherwise.
“If true, this must be disclosed to the public in a transparent manner,” he said in a statement.
Last week, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that Raus has been appointed as an additional judge to the Federal Court for three years starting Aug 4, while Zulkefli has likewise been appointed for two years starting Sept 28.
The appointments were based on recommendations of the previous chief justice Arifin Zakaria prior to his retirement on March 30, 2017.
Both appointments were pursuant to Article 122(1A) of the Federal Constitution. Raus and Zulkefli were originally bound for mandatory retirement upon reaching the age of 66 years and six months later this year, but additional judges have no age limit.
The Malaysian Bar said the appointments are “blatantly unconstitutional” and the Bar Council would convene an emergency general meeting on the matter.
Shafee had defended the move as a means for Arifin to extend his successors’ otherwise brief tenures as top judges.
“He (Arifin) may have been influenced by the fact that the two top judges after him would have only four months and six months respectively to hold the two top posts.
"The former CJ must have felt bad about this 'flash in the pan' tenure as compared to his, which was more than six years," he said in a statement on Sunday.
Meanwhile, when asked about the allegation that he had been paid RM9.5 million out of Najib’s personal bank account at a time when he was acting as the government’s special prosecutor for Anwar’s Sodomy II trial, Shafee said the matter is already in court and he would respond in court.
“It is a lot of rubbish because the matter is in court. So I will see Anwar in court about the RM9.5 (million). Let’s see if he’s right,” he said.
The High Court in Kuala Lumpur had previously ordered Shafee to respond to Anwar, who had filed an application to set aside his Sodomy II conviction.
Among others, Justice Kamaludin Md Said had told Shafee to submit his affidavit-in-reply by today.
Meanwhile in the Federal Court today, the court dismissed Shafee’s application for leave to appeal against a Court of Appeal decision not to allow him to represent himself together with a co-counsel in his defamation suit against the lawyer Tommy Thomas, the ex-judge VC George, and the Malaysian Bar.
The three-member panel chaired by Chief Justice of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Melanjum told the parties involved to resolve the matter.
After an adjournment, the parties told the court that they have agreed to allow Shafee to represent himself, on condition that he adheres to the court’s procedures for doing so.
Shafee is also to file an application at the Court of Appeal to have a "McKenzie friend" to assist him, and the other parties would not object to this. A McKenzie friend is a person who assists a litigant in court, but is not allowed to address the court.
Following the resolution, Richard dismissed the case with no orders to cost.
Speaking to Malaysiakini later, Tommy’s lawyer S Ambiga said the next hearing date for Shafee’s defamation case would be set later today.

The High Court in Kuala Lumpur had previously ruled against Shafee in the suit, and he is now appealing against the decision.
Shafee is suing Tommy and George for filing a motion against him at the Malaysian Bar annual general meeting in 2015.
The duo had filed the motion to complain of Shafee’s conduct at a public talk where he had spoken about the Sodomy II trial.- Mkini

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