CJ: Legal Year format changed as Bar insists on raising reappointments issue
Raus Sharif says allowing the Bar to do so is like inviting guests for dinner who then criticise the host.
PUTRAJAYA: The format of this yearâs Opening of the Legal Year (OLY) ceremony was changed as the Malaysian Bar insisted on raising the reappointments of two top judicial officers, Chief Justice Raus Sharif says.
The top judge said he asked the Bar not to bring up the matter before a public forum since it was now before the court.
âWe said it is improper, but they insisted and we had to change the format (to let only the CJ speak at the event),â he told a news conference after opening the event, renamed the Judicial Year.
Raus said this in response to Bar president George Varugheseâs claim that the new format was an attempt to prevent it from raising issues of public concern.
Breaking with tradition, the Bar held its own OLY yesterday at a private club in Kuala Lumpur.
Varughese said the gathering was held as a result of certain events that transpired last year and the position the Bar had adopted.
Since its inception in 2010, the OLY had always, in addition to the speech by the chief justice, included speeches from the attorney-general (AG) and the Malaysian Bar president, as equal partners in the administration of justice.
Raus said since the Bar president was excluded, he informed Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali that it was not necessary for him to speak as it would look awkward.
Raus said if the Bar was allowed to raise the matter, the AG would have to respond, which would have put the judiciary in a difficult position.
âWhether the format will be retained next year, God knows. We will see what happens,â he added.
Raus said he was surprised to rea d Varugheseâs statement that the Bar was staying away due to the change in format.
He said the event was organised by the judiciary and an invitation was sent to the Bar.
âIt is like inviting people to your house for dinner and they criticise the host. It cannot be,â he added.
However, Raus said he was grateful that a number of lawyers had attended todayâs event.
Among those spotted were former Bar presidents Ragunath Kesavan and Lim Chee Wee.
Raus said the bench still engaged with the Bar in official matters.
âI have no problem with the Bar president. I greet him. We do not run away from each other,â he added.
In August last year, the Bar passed a resolution at an extraordinary general meeting to boycott any social function where Raus and Court of Appeal president Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin would be present.
This followed the reappointment of Raus and Zulkefli to their respective positions despite the two exceeding t he mandatory retirement age of 66 years and six months, which the Bar had termed âblatantly unconstitutionalâ.
The Bar is challenging the appointments in the High Court, which has allowed constitutional questions to be posed to the Federal Court.
Source: Google News