Raus and Zulkefli to step down on July 31

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KUALA LUMPUR — Chief Justice Tun Raus Sharif and Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin are the latest public officials to step down.

The Chief Registrar’s Office said in a statement their resignation will take effect on July 31.

According to the statement, Raus and Zulkefli Ahmad had met Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on May 15 — just a few days after the new government was voted in — to inform him of their intention to resign, and asked for the resignation to take effect at a “reasonable” date to allow for pending judiciary duties to be completed.

“In line with such considerations, the chief justice of Malaysia and the president of the Court of Appeal had sent their respective resignation letters to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on June 7, 2018, and the resignation takes effect on July 31, 2018,” the
statement said.

The Chief Registrar’s Office also said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had agreed to the resignations on June 8, with his royal assent notified through a letter dated June 11 from the private secretary of the Istana Negara’s royal affairs division.

Both Raus and Zulkefli Ahmad have held their positions since April 1, 2017, and have served past their constitutional age limit of 66 years and six months, on Aug 3 and Sept 27 last year, respectively.

However, under the previous government, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had, on July 7 last year, announced their appointment as additional judges and extended their term to Aug 4, 2020 for Raus, and Sept 28, 2019 for Zulkefli Ahmad.

Lawsuits have been filed by the Malaysian Bar, the Advocates’ Association of Sarawak and Dr Mahathir seeking the removal of the duo from their positions.

Dr Mahathir’s lawsuits at the Court of Appeal have been put on hold, pending a decision by the Federal Court in the Malaysian Bar’s case.

Meanwhile, members of the legal fraternity are of the opinion their resignations should take effect immediately.

Retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk Seri Mohd Hishamudin Yunus said the duo should not delay vacating their posts.

“I think it’s appropriate they resign because the appointments are unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid in the first place,” he told Malay Mail.

“And I think they should vacate the office immediately rather than wait for July 31.”

He said all the decisions made by Raus and Zulkefli Ahmad since their appointments were going to “cause legal problems” and would need to be reviewed by the Federal Court.

Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, a retired Federal Court judge, also said they should leave at once.

“July 31, is too long considering the fact that the legal profession, the public and the PM (not necessarily in that order) want them to go,” he told Malay Mail.