KOTA KINABALU, October 23, 2016
Malaysia had been independent for 53 years, and never a judge from Sabah and Sarawak holding the top position in the judiciary. Since the Chief Justice will retire soon, it is time such position be held by a qualified judge coming from these two Borneo states. If not now, when?
Tan Sri Richard Malanjum is both a qualified and worthy candidate for such a position as he has held his present position as the Chief Justice of Sabah and Sarawak for the last 10 years.
His track record holding the position as the Chief Justice of Sabah and Sarawak shows he is capable in carrying out his duty without fear and favor. He is also well respected and recognized for his remarkable effort of introducing the Mobile Court to reach out to the rural poor in the interior of Sabah who could not afford to seek justice in courthouses otherwise.
In addition, Tan Sri Richard Malanjum was the first judge who initiated the computerization of the courts in Sabah and Sarawak which had greatly improved the judiciary system and benefitted members of the bar, lawyers and judges likewise including the general public who are parties to the litigation.
His (Malunjum) appointment as the Chief Justice will also bridge the gap between Peninsular Malaysia and the 2 Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak insofar the judiciary system is concerned.
Tan Sri Richard Malanjum’s appointment as the Chief Justice would also reflect well on the Federal government’s sincerity in treating Sabah Sarawak as equal partners in Malaysia.
The Federal government must seriously consider appointing the position of Chief Justice to qualified judges from Sabah Sarawak. Otherwise, the people of Sabah Sarawak will not believe that the Federal government has the political will to treat Sabah and Sarawak fairly and as equal partners of the Federation.
If appointed as Chief Justice of Malaysia, I trust that Tan Sri Richard Malanjum will carry out his duty fairly and without fear and favor like what he is doing now as the Chief Justice of Sabah and Sarawak. His appointment as Chief justice will argue well for the federal government in respecting and promoting qualified judges from Sabah and Sarawak to its highest position in the judiciary.
Many may not know about the judicial hierarchy, where the Chief Justice of Sabah and Sarawak is of the same status as the Chief justice of Malaya. According to the Federal Constitution section 121 (1) (a) and (b), the status of the Chief Justice of Sabah and Sarawak and Chief Justice of Malaya are of equal status, ie 3rd in judicial hierarchy, with the Court of Appeal president to be of second place.
After 53 years of independence, it is time the people of Sabah and Sarawak to claim our rightful positions in all aspects including appointment of Chief justice from Sabah and Sarawak. Appointing Malunjum as Chief justice will be seen as a significant step forward for Sabahan and Sarawakian.
YB Christina Liew
Sabah PKR Acting Chairperson
Sabah PKR acting Chairman Christina Liew has expressed her full support for the recommendation by the retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus and the retired Federal Court Judge Datuk Seri Gopah Sri Ram for Tan Sri Richard Malanjum to be appointed the Chief Justice when the term of current Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria expires in March 2017.