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Tenure of top three judges extended by six months

KUALA LUMPUR: The tenure of the top three judges have been extended for another six months after their mandatory retirement age, says Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria.

In confirming this, Arifin said that he would continue to serve as the Chief Justice while the other two are the Court of Appeal president and Chief Judge of Malaya.

He said among others, he would use the extended time to put in place a succession plan for his replacement.

“My succession plan will be put in place. It will go through the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) but of course, I cannot tell you who it is,” Arifin said after launching the International Malaysia Law Conference 2016, yesterday.

Arifin’s term will be extended from September to April next year. He was appointed as the Chief Justice on Sept 12, 2011.

Arifin also noted that the extension also covered Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif and Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin.

Raus will retire in February while Zulkelfli in March next year.

On another matter, Arifin said the appointment of retired Federal Court judge Tan Sri Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha as an additional judge was due to his experience.

“However, his appointment will not deprive a judge from the Court of Appeal of elevation to the Federal Court,” Arifin said.

Arifin said the apex court needed more judges because there were more occasions calling for a five or seven-man Bench to dispose of cases.

He also noted that the Court of Appeal was in the midst of disposing a lot of cases and judges there were needed to write grounds for their judgments.

He said the New Commercial Courts, which was a result of a collaboration with the Government’s Public-Private Sector Special Task Force on Facilitating Business (Pemudah), had proven effective in disposing of cases when it started with 6,490 commercial files pending in January 2009.

Arifin said such efforts were part of the judicial reforms introduced to find the best solution to dispose of old cases and at the same time expedite the disposal of new cases.

On a separate matter, Arifin said a Cabinet paper was being prepared over the proposal for greater separation between judicial and legal services.

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