Pathetic, with Shafie as the lone voice against the tide of informed opinion and putting up his worst defence ever for the unconstitutional extension of Raus and Zulkefli for the top two judicial posts in the country
It is most pathetic, with controversial senior lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah as the lone voice against the tide of informed opinion and Shafee putting up his worst defence ever for the unconstitutional extension of the tenures of Chief Justice Md Raus Sharif and Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin through the backdoor of Article 122(1A) of the Federal Constitution to appoint additional judges.
Just because Shafee got up at 5 am today and first saw the announcement is no testimony for the constitutionality of the extension of the tenures of the Chief Justice and the Court of Appeal president, which were in fact aggravated by the unconstitutional use of Article 122(1A) as a backdoor for such unconstitutional extensions – making the extensions of Chief Justice Rauf and Tan Sri Zulkefli for the top two judicial posts as doubly unconstitutional!
Shafee begs the question when he said:
“Almost everyone thought Raus recommended himself and Zulkefli to be extended as ‘additional’ judges under Article 122(1A) of the Federal Constitution. He did not.”
Shafee said it was the former Chief Justice, Tun Arifin Zakaria who advised the appointment of Raus and Zulkefli as “additional judges” on March 30, 2017 before his retirement as Chief Justice.
This is the advice of one former Chief Justice against the advice of another former Chief Justice, Tun Abdul Hamid who was Chief Justice from November 2007 to October 2008.
Abdul Hamid had publicly advised that a further extension to the tenure of Chief Justice Md Raus Sharif after 66 years and six months would be unconstitutional.
Why should the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak prefer to act on Arifin’s advice instead of Abdul Hamid’s advice when there a whole range of jurists and lawyers backing the latter’s opinion, including former Federal Court judge Tan Sri Gopal Sri Ram, former de facto law minister, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, the Malaysian Bar president George Varughese and the overwhelming majority of practising lawyers in country?
What would have been the outcome if the Prime Minister had solicited the views and advice of all the serving judges in the country from all three tiers of the judiciary?
It is shocking that Shafee could come up with the argument that nothing in the Federal Constitution forbade an additional judge from being Chief Justice or Court of Appeal President.
By the same argument, there is nothing in the Federal Constitution to forbid an assault on the fundamental principles of judicial independence and the rule of law as well as the doctrine of separation of powers.
Is Shafie going to be in the forefront to defend any such assault on the principles of judicial independence and the rule of law as well as the doctrine of separation of powers?
Before the whirlwind of the new constitutional crisis gathers full steam, both Shafee and Zulkefli can nip it in the bud by declining the unconstitutional extension of their tenures as the two top judicial officers of the land.
The time has come for Shafee and Zulkefli to break their silence. Will they speak up?