Can the BN Sabah and Sarawak Ministers and MPs be trusted to uphold Sabah and Sarawak interests when they dare not openly declare their support for Malanjum as Chief Justice of Malaysia?
The President of the Sabah Council of Datuks, Claudius Roman, said that Sabah may have to wait 100 years to produce another judge as gifted as Richard Malanjum.
He said the Council, which is made up of serving and former senior leaders of the public and private sectors, political organisations and NGOs. had unanimously agreed on Wednesday that Malanjum was the most qualified member of the Malaysian judiciary for the post of chief justice.
The question is whether the Ministers and MPs from Sabah and Sarawak dare to tell the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, that Sabah will have to wait 100 years to produce another judge as gifted as Richard Malanjum.
This is most unlikely as how can the Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPs from Sabah and Sarawak be trusted to uphold Sabah and Sarawak interests when they dare not openly declare their support for Malanjum as Chief Justice of Malaysia, especially as next Thursday on August 3 will be deadline for the appointment of a new Chief Justice.
I stand by what I said at the DAP Miri Dinner two weeks ago that it must be a matter of grave concern to all patriotic Malaysians that the integrity and sanctity of the Malaysian Constitution are 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, having been appointed Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak in 2005.
How would any Barisan Nasional Minister or Member of Parliament from Sabah and Sarawak dare to convey to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet the sentiments expressed by Cladius Roman when none of them dared to attend the Parliamentary Roundtable convened by the DAP MP for Bandar Kuching, Chong Chieng Jen and DAP MP for Sandakan Wong Tien Fatt in Parliament on Tuesday on the issue of a Chief Justice and Court of Appeal President?
This is particularly the case when the extension of Raus and Zulkefli’s tenure as Chief Justice and Court of Appeal President are most irregular, improper and unconstitutional, based on wrong and bad advice by the Prime Minister to the Yang di Pertuan Agong under Article 122B of the Malaysian Constitution.
What has made the by-passing of Malanjum in judicial promotions even more objectionable is that it would appear that there is a glass ceiling for judges from Sabah and Sarawak, that they could only rank fourth in the hierarchy of judicial appointments and deemed unqualified or unfit to occupy the first three top judicial posts, namely Chief Justice, Court of Appeal President and Chief Judge of High Court of Malaya.
It would appear that Malanjum is not only suitable to be Chief Justice, but also for the post of Court of Appeal President.
A judge from Peninsular Malaysia had once been appointed Chief Judge of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak but there had never been a judge from Sabah and Sarawak who had been appointed Chief Judge of the High Court of Malaya.
The best way to resolve this unseemly constitutional crisis is for Raus and Zulkefli to decline the unconstitutional and improper extension of their tenures as Chief Justice and Court of Appeal President respectively.