Retired judge points out weaknesses in judicial appointments


KUALA LUMPUR: Certain people who deserve to be appointed to the apex court were not promoted, claimed retired Court of Appeal Judge Mohamad Ariff Yusof at a public forum.

Ariff stressed during the forum, organised by the Bar Council, that there were weaknesses in the system. “The system should be reviewed.”

According to him, the major weakness in the judiciary was appointments can only be made upon the recommendation of the Prime Minister. “The weak link lies in the need to have the recommendation referred to the Prime Minister,” he said. “That’s where it is. I don’t dare say anything more.”

“There are those who deserve to be at the apex (court) but are not appointed. Some thought should be given to how to improve the system.”

Ever since the sacking of Tun Salleh Abbas, who was then Lord President, many have described the 1988 crisis as the end of judicial independence in Malaysia.

In 1988, a constitutional crisis or the judicial crisis, sparked off when then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad tabled a Bill in Parliament to amend Articles 121 and 145 of the Federal Constitution. The Bill sought to strip the courts of the “judicial power of the Federation”, giving them only such powers as Parliament granted them.

Salleh made a statement defending the judiciary’s autonomy. He later chaired a meeting of 20 Supreme Court judges in Kuala Lumpur and a decision was made to address a confidential letter to the Agong and various other Rulers on the matter.

The letter expressed disappointment with the various comments and accusations by Mahathir against the judiciary.

Two months later, Salleh was suspended and High Court of Malaya Chief Justice Abdul Hamid Omar was appointed acting Lord President. – FMT

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