Ambiga: Judges' appointment should not be under parliament scrutiny

  • Oct 11, 2018
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Former Malaysian Bar president Ambiga Sreenevasan said the appointment of judges should never be under the scrutiny of the Parliament.

This is because judicial appointments should be independent of any interference, added the National Human Rights Society (Hakam) chairperson.

"That is not the appropriate way to go. I want the prime minister (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) to reconsider the idea.

"Politicians should not be involved, or interfere in the appointment of judges. Parliament should not be seen as interfering in the appointment of judges under no circumstances," she told reporters outside the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya.

What is actually needed is strengthening the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) as a constitutional body, and not place the appointment of judges under the Parliament, she stressed.

"This was not the way (in the past), and it should not be the way now."

An amendment to the Federal Constitution is needed to make JAC a constitutional, she noted, and she is confident that the Parliament may see through to it.

"It would be in the government's interest and also the opposition BN's interests now to ensure judges are independent by amending the constitution to make JAC, a constitutional body," Ambiga said.

Ambiga, who is also a member of the Institutional Reform Committee (IRC), has previously called on the Pakatan Harapan government to make the IRC findings public.

Yesterday, during the monthly Prime Minister's Department meeting, premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad emphasised that the rule of law should be upheld and that future candidates for judicial appointments would be scrutinised and filtered by Parliament before their nominations are sent to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

This is so that judges can act fairly to uphold justice.

“Justice will be prioritised, not the fear of being denied appointments and promotions by certain parties,” he said.