Extension of Raus as Chief Justice after August 3 not only unconstitutional but deny Richard Malanjum as the the first Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak to be appointed as Chief Justice of Malaysia
It must be a matter of grave concern to all patriotic Malaysians that the integrity and sanctity of the Malaysian Constitution is receiving less and less respect from the powers-that-be, and the latest example of an incipient constitutional crisis in Malaysia is the illegal and unconstitutional extension of the tenures of Tan Sri Raus Sharif and Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin as Chief Justice and Court of Appeal President on August 3 and Sept. 27 respectively.
The extension of the tenures of Raus and Zulkefli are not only unconstitutional, but would affect the promotional opportunities and prospects of at least eight Federal Court judges, including three women.
But the most glaring injustice of the unconstitutional extensions will be the denial of the opportunity of Tan Sri Richard Malanjum as the first Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak to be appointed as Chief Justice of Malaysia.
Malanjum is in fact the most senior Federal Court judge in the country, more senior than both Raus and Zulkefli.
Malanjum is the first Sabah bumiputra to be appointed a High Court judge, and the first Sabahan to be elevated as a Judge of the Court of Appeal and Federal Court, the apex court of the country, in 2005 at the age of 52.
On 26th July 2006, for the first time since the formation of Malaysia, Malanjum became the first Sabahan to be elevated as fourth Chief Judge of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak, as the post was previously held by a British, Peninsular Malaysian and Sarawak judge respectively.
Malanjum is a more senior Federal Court judge than Raus and Zulkefli by six years, as both Raus and Zulkefli were only elevated as Federal Court judges in September 2011.
With Raus and Zulkefli‘s unconstitutional extension of their tenures as Chief Justice and Court of Appeal President respectively, the country may also have been denied having the first woman Chief Justice in the near future.
Malaysia is celebrating the 60th National Day anniversary marking the attainment of Merdeka on 31st August 1957 and the 54th Malaysia Day anniversary marking the formation of Malaysia on 16th September 1963.
It would be a great and important factor contributing to the closer unity and cohesion of the Malaysian Federation if a Sabahan or Sarawakian who is Chief Judge of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak could be elevated as Chief Justice of Malaysia in the sixth decade of Malaysian federation as otherwise, it would take another few decades before this could be achieved.
It will indeed be most unfortunate if the constitutional crisis over the extensions of the tenures of Chief Justice and Court of Appeal Presidentn could not be resolved, for it would also give the impression that the existing judges in the Federal Court are not ready to be elevated to higher judicial positions.
The easiest and swiftest resolution of the constitutional crisis is for Rauf and Zulkefli to decline the unconstitutional extension of their two judicial offices, especially as both of them have sworn to uphold the Constitution in their oaths of office.
Will Rauf and Zulkefli decline their unconstitutional appointments, and will Malanjum be the first judge from Sabah/Sarawak to be appointed Chief Justice of Malaysia to mark the 60th National Day Anniversary and the 54th Malaysia Day anniversary?