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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Bar stands its ground after CJ's defence of extension



The Malaysian Bar is standing firm on its position that the reappointments of both Chief Justice Md Raus Sharif and Court of Appeal President Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin are unconstitutional.
"The Bar maintains our position that there is no ambiguity in the provisions in the Federal Constitution, and that the appointments of the chief justice and the president of the Court of Appeal as additional judges, and thereafter to continue as chief justice and president of the Court of Appeal are unconstitutional and void," Malaysian Bar president George Varughese told Malaysiakini.
Varughese was responding to Raus, who had after his reappointment as chief justice last Saturday, conceded that his reappointment was unprecedented but maintained that it was still constitutional.
Raus had said that there is always a first time for everything and as such, there are bound to be many differences in opinions.
"The chief justice is entitled to his view that his appointment is constitutional.
"However, he has not explained why so, when there is no provision in the Federal Constitution to enable a chief justice to continue holding the position after the mandatory retirement age," Varughese said.
He also pointed out that Raus did not explain why he did not agree with the Bar's position which was spelt out in its motion and resolutions.
The Malaysian Bar, during its extraordinary general meeting last Thursday, resolved that the reappointments of Raus and Zulkefli (photo) past the age limit of 66 years and six months are unconstitutional.
The Bar had said that it intends to file a legal challenge very soon against the duo’s appointments as additional judges.
Meanwhile, on Raus’ statement that he has no issue with being excluded from the Bar’s social events, Varughese said it was the chief justice's prerogative on how he would deal with the Bar's resolution to exclude the chief justice and the Court of Appeal president from its social events.

"The Bar does not have a problem with that," he said.
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) had earlier announced that Raus and Zulkefli would retain their existing offices for another three and two years respectively, following their appointments as additional judges.
The PMO said the appointments of Raus and Zulkefli were based on the recommendation of then chief justice Arifin Zakaria, who retired on March 31.
However, critics have also questioned whether Arifin had the authority to recommend additional judges for periods past their retirement. -Mkini

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