CJ: Constitution needs amendment to remove PM’s power to appoint JAC members

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The Federal Constitution needs to be amended in order to remove the prime minister’s power to appoint members in the Judicial Appointments Commissions (JAC).

Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat said the judiciary would support any changes or recommendations that aimed to improve the level of the judiciary in the country.

She said there should be a meaningful engagement with the stakeholders to ensure the success of the amendment.

Bernama

“This, in fact, had been highlighted by the task force established to investigate the controversial memoirs of former attorney-general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas. We are in support of this,” she told reporters after the Opening of Legal Year 2023 at Putrajaya today.

The JAC was established through the Judicial Appointments Commission Act 2009, which was gazetted on Feb 8, 2009.

The commission’s objective is to ensure the process for the nomination, appointment and promotion of superior court judges is made in a transparent and comprehensive manner.

At present, the JAC has nine members, four of whom are the most senior judges in Malaysia, while the remaining five are appointed by the prime minister.

Meanwhile, Tengku Maimun said the judiciary had sent two names to the Prime Minister’s Department to fill up vacancies at the Federal Court following the mandatory retirement of several judges.

“We can expect the appointment of judges soon,” she said.

She said this when asked to comment on two vacancies in the apex court after judges Puan Sri Zaleha Yusof and Datuk Seri Mohd Zawawi Salleh were due to retire in May and July last year.

Tengku Maimun also clarified that the issue of vacancies in the Federal Court would not affect Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s review application over his SRC International Bhd corruption case.

She said the court had enough quorum to hear Najib’s review as the hearing dates had been scheduled earlier.

“We had already fixed dates for Najib’s review. We had already prepared the panel of judges so those vacancies will not affect the case,” she said.

The former prime minister is seeking a review of the Federal Court’s decision to reject his application to adduce fresh evidence relating to the then High Court judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

He is also seeking a review of the court’s decision to dismiss his bid to postpone his appeal hearing as well as a decision to recuse Tengku Maimun.

Najib was convicted of all seven charges of power abuse, criminal breach of trust and money laundering in relation to RM42 million of SRC International funds.

Nazlan, who was the trial judge, had sentenced him to 12 years’ jail and RM210 million fine.

Najib, 70, is now serving his jail sentence in Kajang Prison. – NST