Was Shafee involved in former Chief Justice Arifin’s advice for the unconstitutional appointment of Raus and Zulkefli as “additional’” judges after the duo’s compulsory retirement to unconstitutionally extend their tenures as the two top judges in the land
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim threw a bomb from Sungai Buloh Prison when he questioned if prominent lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah was involved in the extension of Chief Justice Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif and Court of Appeal President Justice Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin's respective tenures.
I full agree that if this is true, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak should come clean on the matter.
This will put Shafee’s comments on the constitutional controversy over the extension of Chief Justice and Court of Appeal President in a very different light – making Shafee’s comments most self-serving and lacking in the candour and professionalism expected of a senior and prominent lawyer.
This was Shafee’s comment on Saturday after the late-night announcement last Friday on the illegal and unconstitutional extension of Raus’ tenure as Chief Justice after August 3:
“I saw the announcement this morning at 5 am and had a quick look at the law.
“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.
“The former CJ on the verge of retiring and possibly one of his last official act recommended both judges to be appointed ‘additional judges’.
“He may have been influenced by the fact that the two top judges after him would have only 4 months and 6 months respectively to hold the two top posts.
“With that sort of limited time frame they would hardly warm up their new seats what more to execute a plan of judicial policy.
“The former CJ must have felt bad about this ‘flash in the pan’ tenure as compared to his, which was more than 6 years.”
Re-reading Shafee’s first comments on the illegal and unconstitutional extension of tenure of Raus’ as Chief Justice and Zulkefli as Court of Appeal President, Najib must not only comply with Anwar’s call to act transparently and disclose whether Shafee was involved in the unconstitutional extension of the tenures of the two top judges in the country, but whether Shafee was involved in the former Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria’s advice for the unconstitutional appointment of Raus and Zulkefili as “additional’” judges after the duo’s compulsory retirement to unconstitutionally extend their tenures as the two top judges in the land.
The Cabinet at its meeting tomorrow should demand that the Prime Minister make a full public disclosure and take immediate action to ensure that the country is not plunged into another constitutional crisis over the judiciary, in particular over the important principles on the doctrine of separation of powers and an independent judiciary, on the eve of the country celebrating the 60th National Day anniversary next month.
The easiest and swiftest resolution of the constitutional crisis is for Rauf and Zulkefli to decline the unconstitutional extension of their tenures as Chief Justice and Court of Appeal President – but will both of them be faithful to their oath of office to uphold the Constitution?
As Parliament is meeting on 24th July, the Cabinet should also ensure that the constitutional controversy over the unconstitutional extension of the tenures of Rauf and Zulkefli as the two top judges in the country will be addressed as the first item of parliamentary business – whether in the form of a debate on a motion by the Prime Minister as to how the country could avoid another constitutional crisis over the judiciary in the country or a motion by the Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail on the issue.