Top judges Raus and Zulkefli quit (Updated)

KUALA LUMPUR: Chief Justice Tun Md Raus Sharif and Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin today tendered their resignations to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed.

A statement issued by the Palace of Justice said the resignations will take effect on July 31.

"The chief justice and Court of Appeal president have notified the prime minister of the resignations, to take effect at a reasonable date, pending judiciary work to be completed," it said.

The judges sent their resignation letters to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on June 7 and received a reply consenting to their resignations on June 11.

Members of the legal fraternity have welcomed the resignations.

Executive director of Lawyers for Liberty, Erik Paulsen, said the resignations were "excellent news for Malaysia Baru".

"The judiciary has been under a cloud of controversy for so long, made worse by Raus' and Zulkefli's unconstitutional re-appointments. Reforms must now be done to ensure the judiciary becomes truly independent," he said.

"A key area is the Judicial Appointments Commission ... it must be revamped so that judges are appointed and promoted based on seniority and merit. The composition of the commission must also be changed to include representatives from the Bar Council and civil society."

Lawyer Syahredzan Johan, who is DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang's political secretary, said: "I hold to the Malaysian Bar's resolution on Aug 3, 2017 that as the chief justice and Court of Appeal president exceeded the age limit of 66 years and 6 months as set in the Constitution, their appointments were invalid. Thus, their decision to step down has prevented a constitutional crisis that could affect the development of the country," he said in a statement.

Lawyer Ramkarpal Singh, who is Bukit Gelugor MP, said the resignations should take effect immediately. "It is not proper for them to remain in their positions until July 31 if there is doubt over the validity of their appointments."