The statement by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) had not overstepped it’s boundaries by summoning top judges to demand their resignations is ill-advised and contrary to the rule of law (‘Dr M defends top advisory council over summoning of judges, FMT, 12.6.2018).
The CEP is appointed by the government and its actions are ostensibly the actions of the government. When it summons judges and demands their resignations, it will be seen as the government demanding their resignations which is in complete disregard of the principle of separation of powers.
It is a basic hallmark of any democracy that the executive does not interfere in the affairs of the judiciary.
There is nothing wrong with criticising the appointment of the Chief Justice and the President of the Court of Appeal. However, it is quite another matter to summon them and demand their resignations.
This is plainly wrong.
The Federal Constitution sets out the mode of the removal of judges. This must be adhered to at all times in accordance with the rule of law.
The CEP has clearly overstepped it’s boundaries in this case which cannot be condoned.