Lawyers express concern over meeting between top judges and Daim
Sunday, 10 June 2018

The Star Online

PETALING JAYA: It was improper and wrong if Chief Justice Tun Md Raus Sharif and Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin submitted to Tun Daim Zainuddin when allegedly summoned to his office, said senior lawyer Datuk Roger Tan (pic).

Tan said even if they had been summoned by the Prime Minister to discuss the issue of their resignation, the duo are still under no obligation to accede to any meeting with the members of the Executive to discuss any pending matter before the court.

He said this was wholly incompatible with the separation of powers, especially when seven other members of the Federal Court are deliberating the matter.

“As much as I disagree with their re-appointments, their re-appointments remain valid until set aside by the Federal Court,” he said in a statement on Sunday (June 10).

Tan said the duo are entitled to due process and the issue is a matter of great constitutional importance.

The Malaysian Bar and the Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) had challenged the appointments of Md Raus and Zulkefli, made beyond the mandatory retirement age of 66 years and six months.

The case is being heard in the Federal Court by a seven-member Bench.

Ex Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram had claimed that Daim, who is the chairman of the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) had allegedly demanded the resignations of both Md Raus and Zulkefli during a meeting.

Sri Ram said Daim should not have demanded their resignations as it was unconstitutional for anyone other than the prime minister to summon the head of the judiciary.

Tan added that he disagreed with Sri Ram's view that they should resign to save the other seven Federal Court judges the burden to deliver a judgment. "Firstly, the duo is entitled to the due process. Secondly, the issue is a matter of great constitutional importance and the Federal Court should make a ruling on the same so that such illegal act will not be repeated or an amendment to the Constitution can be made should the Federal Court rule in their favour."

"I am also of the view that that it is quite improper for Sri Ram to propose his preferred choices of who should be the new CJ and PCA especially when they were his judicial colleagues and he now appears often as counsel in superior courts after his retirement despite objection from the Bar Council," said Tan.

Similarly, Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh said that the removal of Raus and Zulkefli must be in accordance with the rule of law and if was Daim was involved in trying to get them to resign, it was contrary to the said rule of law.

“The perception that there might be meddling (particularly from parties seen to be close to the government) in the appointment or removal of the CJ and PCA must be avoided at all costs and Daim should know better than to get involved in it (assuming the claim by Sri Ram is true) which may well give rise to such perception,” he said in a statement.

He added that the Federal Court should fix a date for decision of the same as soon as possible in light of the fact that the matter is quite obviously one of urgency which needs to be resolved quickly in the interests of justice.