Judiciary welcomes improvements, amendments to JAC: Tengku Maimun

PUTRAJAYA: The judiciary welcomes improvements or amendments to the Judicial Appointments Commission Act 2009 (JAC) to ensure it is completely independent of the executive body, says Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat.

However, she opined that the provisions related to the appointment of judges in the Federal Constitution must also be examined in line with the amendments and improvements of the JAC.

“In other words, we will not achieve the purpose of having a situation where the appointment of judges is completely independent of the executive body if the existing provision in the Federal Constitution which stipulates that the appointment of judges must go through a negotiation process with the Prime Minister remains,“ she said.

She said this to reporters after the opening ceremony for the 2023 Legislative Year at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) today.

It was previously reported that the Conference of Rulers proposed that the appointment of five of the nine members of the JAC no longer be appointed by the prime minister so that its composition is more balanced and does not carry the interests of any party.

The Yang Dipertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, Tuanku Muhriz Tuanku Munawir, who chaired the 260th Conference of Rulers meeting, said in terms of the judicial system, the Conference of Rulers is responsible for the appointment of judges in Malaysia, and at present, this process is seen as having weaknesses that can be improved, JAC’s membership included.

On the Malaysian Bar’s proposal to raise the retirement age of judges from 65 to 70, Tengku Maimun said she had never discussed this matter.

“We have not discussed the retirement age for the judges. There is no decision taken collectively, but I suppose there is no harm in exploring the matter.

“If some judges feel that the current is the ideal age, they can always retire early without waiting for the mandatory retirement age,“ said Tengku Maimun.

Meanwhile, when asked about the increase in judges’ salaries, Tengku Maimun said it had not happened since she assumed the position of Chief Justice, adding the last salary increment for judges was in 2017, before her appointment.

“I believe the salary review should come from the judiciary before the proposal paper is submitted to the government,“ she added. – Bernama

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