A GROUP of prominent retired Malay civil servants has called for a constitutional amendment to ensure the prime minister has no role in the appointment and promotion of judges.
The group, which call itself G25, said under the current law, the prime minister was not obliged to give a reason if he rejected judges nominated by the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC).
“It is proposed (that) the prime minister plays no role at all in the appointment of judges.
“The JAC, instead of the prime minister, recommends the names to the Conference of Rules (for their views) and, thereafter, to the Agong,” it said in its Invigorating Economic Confidence in Malaysia report, released today in Kuala Lumpur.
The group said the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong was constitutionally obliged to act on the advice of the prime minister, the person who effectively decides on the appointments or promotions of judges.
“This system of appointment is unsatisfactory because it gives rise to the perception that the judiciary is beholden to the executive.
“This stems from the fact that the prime minister is the head of the executive branch and exerts substantial influence on the legislature.
“It is clear that there are times when judges have to make unfavourable decisions involving the executive or the legislature,” it said.
Article 122(1A) of the constitution allows the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, acting on the advice of the chief justice of the Federal Court, to appoint additional judges.
Article 122B provides that the appointments of the chief justice, president of the Court of Appeal, chief judges of the High Courts, and other judges of the Federal Court, Court of Appeal and High Courts shall be made by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, acting on the advice of the prime minister, after consulting the Conference of Rulers.