Isnin, 30 September 2013

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Lawyers question criteria for promoting judges

Posted: 29 Sep 2013 06:29 PM PDT

V Anbalagan, TMI

Six top judges are slated to be promoted to the Federal Court and Court of Appeal today against a backdrop of unhappiness in Malaysia's Bar Council for not being consulted on the latest judicial appointments.

The Bar Council is unsure whether these judges are being promoted on merit or seniority. In today's promotion, Court of Appeal judges Datuk Seri Abu Samah Nordin, Datuk Ramly Ali and Datuk Seri Mohamed Apandi Ali will be elevated to the Federal Court.

High Court judges Datuk Seri Zakaria Sam, Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim and Datuk Umi Kalthum Abdul Majid will be promoted to the Court of Appeal.

The council, which covers all lawyers in West Malaysia, also feels it should have been consulted as it is an important stakeholder in the administration of justice in the country.

One view is that it harked back to 1988 when the dismissal of then Lord President Tun Salleh Abas sparked a judicial crisis.

"There was no communication due to bad relationship between the (Bar) council and the judiciary then," past council president Ragunath Kesavan told The Malaysian Insider.

Current council president Christopher Leong when contacted said neither his nor the council's views were sought this time.

"I am only invited to attend the oath taking ceremony for the judges at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya tomorrow (Monday)," he told The Malaysian Insider yesterday.

In previous years, the chief justice made it a point to consult the council on the appointment of federal and appellate court judges.

Leong's immediate predecessor, Lim Chee Wee, who held the post from 2011 to 2013, said the chief justice had sought the council's feedback when appointments and promotions were made.

Ragunath (left), who was council president between 2009 and 2011, said then chief justice Tun Zaki Azmi consulted him before the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) discussed the elevation of judges.

"Whatever reservations some may have about Zaki, he displayed respect for the council and did not ignore us even after the JAC was set up in 2009," he said.

"This time around the legal fraternity is wondering whether judges were promoted based on merit or seniority," he added.

Ragunath also wondered if the failure to obtain the views of the council was a return of the practice soon after the judicial crisis in 1988 following the dismissal of Salleh.

In today's ceremony, the promoted judges will receive their letters of appointment from Yang di Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah prior to taking their oath of office before Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria and Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Raus Sharif.

Two senior Court of Appeal judges Datuk Abdul Malik Ishak and Datuk Mohd Hishamuddin Mohd Yunus have been overlooked in the current promotion exercise.

Abang Iskandar and Umi Kalthum have leapfrogged several High Court judges to become Court of Appeal judges.



DAP’s Liew Chin Tong is going places

Posted: 29 Sep 2013 05:03 PM PDT

Eileen Ng, TMI

No one was more shocked than Liew Chin Tong (pic) himself when he found out that he topped the list in DAP's central executive committee (CEC) election last night.

The 36-year-old could not fathom why he beat bigwigs like Karpal Singh, Lim Kit Siang and even fiery Lim Guan Eng.

"I'm not sure. It is the decision of the delegates, and I thank them for the honour," a stunned Liew told reporters when asked the reasons for his popularity.

In the December party polls, Liew only garnered 984 votes, which gave him the 14th spot in the 20-member CEC.

Last night the youngest CEC member received 1,438 votes.

Modesty aside, Liew zoomed to the top partly because of his work as party strategist and his down-to-earth demeanour.

Many credited the DAP tactician's work in the run-up and during the 13th general election when his secular, Chinese-dominated party had its best showing.

DAP also penetrated the southern state of Johor, which was deemed to be a BN fortress all this while.

In the May national polls, DAP won 38 parliamentary and 95 state seats.

"It's a reflection of his success in Johor and the good work that he has done," notes Liew's party colleague, Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari.

Liew's talent, age and affable nature make for an attractive package to members who see him as a second echelon leader who can take over the reins of the party when the older leaders step down.

The second-term MP, described by many as "hardworking" and "humble", earned the admiration of members, especially those from Johor, when he gave up his previous parliamentary seat of Bukit Bendera - a safe seat - to contest in Kluang.

He unseated MCA's Dr Hou Kok Chung, a former deputy minister.




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