Malaysia's top two judges quit

Chief Justice Raus Sharif (right) and Court of Appeal president Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin had their terms extended last year despite exceeding the legal retirement age of 66 for their posts, sparking protests from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the legal
Chief Justice Raus Sharif (right) and Court of Appeal president Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin had their terms extended last year despite exceeding the legal retirement age of 66 for their posts, sparking protests from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the legal community.PHOTO: BERNAMA

CJ and Court of Appeal president latest of high-profile resignations as Mahathir government continues clean-up

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's top two judges are resigning, court officials said yesterday, the latest senior public servants to leave their posts since the former government lost power.

Chief Justice Raus Sharif and Court of Appeal president Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin are to step down on July 31, a judiciary statement said.

They are the latest senior officials to quit, or be forced from, their jobs since Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad won a shock election victory last month on a pledge to clean up a government beset by scandal and other abuses.

The attorney-general and central bank governor have both left their jobs after allegations related to a scandal surrounding sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Ousted former prime minister Najib Razak, his family and cronies have been accused of plundering billions of dollars from the fund in a sophisticated fraud.

Datuk Seri Najib, who has been questioned by anti-graft investigators twice over the controversy since losing power, and 1MDB deny any wrongdoing.

The judiciary statement said the judges' resignations were approved last Friday by the Malaysian King - as is required by law for such senior legal posts.

The judges had their terms extended last year despite exceeding the legal retirement age of 66 for their posts, in a move that sparked protests from Tun Dr Mahathir - then in the opposition - and the legal community.

Critics say the independence of Malaysia's judiciary has been eroded steadily over the years.

Dr Mahathir, who is 92 and serving as premier for the second time, is himself accused of starting the process of weakening the courts in the 1980s during his first period in office.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2018, with the headline 'Malaysia's top two judges quit'. Print Edition | Subscribe