The belated appointment of Richard Malunjum as Chief Justice – the first from Sabah/Sarawak – is an important milestone to restore constitutional integrity and propriety as well as to promote national unity.
Exactly a year ago on July 14, 2017, at a DAP Dinner at Eastwood Valley in Miri, I had called for the appointment of Malanjukm as Chief Justice of Malaysia.
I had said that it must be a matter of grave concern to all patriotic Malaysians that the integrity and sanctity of the Malaysian Constitution was receiving less and less respect from the powers-that-be – the latest example being 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, 2017 respectively.
I said that the extension of the tenures of Raus and Zulkefli were not only unconstitutional, but would affect the promotional opportunities and prospects of at least eight Federal Court judges, including three women.
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 was 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.
It is relevant for Malaysians to ask who were evil genius in causing the Najib premiership to commit one of its worst decisions by trifling with the sanctity, legitimacy and propriety with the Malaysian Constitution by coming up with the new-fangled interpretation of the Malaysian Constitution to justify the unconstitutional appointment of Raus and Zulkefli as the Chief Justice and the Court of Appeal President respectively.
Will the evil genius who came up with such new-fangled construction and interpretation of the Malaysian Constitution please identity yourselves, as nobody would believe that Najib had thought of them himself?