‘Wrong to accede to Daim’s request’
Monday, 11 June 2018

The Star 

PETALING JAYA: It would be improper and wrong for the country’s top judges to accede to Tun Daim Zainuddin when they were allegedly summoned to his office, says senior lawyer Datuk Roger Tan.

Tan said even if Chief Justice Tun Md Raus Sharif and president of the Court of Appeal Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin were summoned by the Prime Minister to discuss their resignation, they were still under no obligation to agree to discuss any pending matter before the court.

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

“By doing so, they may have acted in a manner which has brought disrepute to the office of a judge, in breach of the Judges’ Code of Ethics,” Tan said in a statement yesterday.

“As much as I disagree with their re-appointments (by the previous administration), it remained valid until set aside by the Federal Court.”

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.

Tan said the duo were entitled to due process and that the issue was a matter of great constitutional importance.

Former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram claimed that Daim, who is the chairman of the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP), allegedly demanded their resignations during a meeting.

Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh also said the removal of Md Raus and Zulkefli should be in accor­dance with the rule of law.

“The perception that there might be meddling (particularly from parties seen to be close to the government) must be avoided at all costs,” he said in a statement.

He added that the Federal Court should fix a date for a decision as soon as possible because the matter was of utmost urgency, which needed to be resolved quickly in the interests of justice.

Separately, constitutional law expert Datuk Gurdial Singh Nijar said Md Raus and Zulkefli arguably did not enjoy the security of tenure.

He said this because they were appointed under the Constitution as “additional judges” for a particular purpose and period.

Nijar said the Constitution expli­citly stated that judges during their tenure of 66 years and six months were not to be removed except for causes such as health.

“This (judges up to 66 years old and those with additional six months extension) would require a tribunal and its recommendation for removal,” said Nijar.

Prof Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi said that “additional jud­ges” did not enjoy the safeguards of Article 125 of the Federal Consti­tution, where a tribunal of at least five brother and sister judges would give them a hearing.

“In this case, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong can actually terminate their terms. He will act on the advice of the Prime Minister,” he said.