22 OCTOBER 2016
I wholeheartedly endorse the recommendation by the 2 prominent retired judges that Tan Sri Richard Malanjum be appointed the next Chief Justice of Malaysia, and I echo the opinion of Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus on the desirability of having a ‘substantive CJ’ rather on an acting CJ.
Aside from the fact that Richard Malanjum has the seniority by virtue of his 10-year stint in his present position as Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, he is a visionary who will be able to bring about much-needed reform to the judiciary. It was a far-sighted and determined Richard Malanjum who initiated the computerisation of the courts in Sabah and Sarawak in 2006 when he was appointed the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak. His close involvement in the development and implementation of the project led to the creation of the Integrated Court Solution (ICS), which won the United Nations World Summit Award 2009 in the e-Government and Institutions Category. Members of the judiciary, the bar, parties in trials and the public have benefitted from the improved processes brought about by the ICS.
That Richard Malanjum is eminently qualified for this position can be gleaned from his sound and reasoned judgments. We have the confidence that he will carry out the duties of his office without fear or favour and will uphold the principles of justice unconditionally. There can be no question about his capability to head the Malaysian judiciary. In the 53 years since the formation of Malaysia, no Sarawakian or Sabahan judge has held this position and now that the most suitable candidate is a Sabahan, we look forward in great anticipation to his appointment.
We trust that the appointment of the next CJ will be based on meritocracy and fairness, free from any political interference. If for any reason Richard Malanjum is sidelined, the people of Sabah and Sarawak will understandably feel slighted. It will be another indication that we are the second cousins, and not equal partners in the Federation of Malaysia as was envisioned by our forefathers. For too long, we have been neglected and for too long, we have accepted this shameful treatment without protest.
Of late, there has been much discussion about the status of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia, and many are expressing disenchantment with the less than honourable treatment meted out to the Borneo states by Malaya. This opening in the top ranks of the judiciary is a timely opportunity for rapprochement between East and West, not because of the need to make amends, but because Richard Malanjum is the most suitable candidate. It will be a start to Sarawak and Sabah taking our rightful place in Malaysia.
Chairman, KEADILAN Sarawak / ADUN N81 Ba’ Kelalan