Sarawak, Sabah to be given seats in Judicial Appointment Commission

Datuk Liew Vui Keong

– by Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, Oct 8: Representatives from three legal fraternities, including from Sarawak and Sabah, will be included in the Judicial Appointment Commission (JAC) to ensure that the East Malaysian states would also have their say when it comes to appointing judges in the country.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law) Datuk Liew Vui Keong said during a meeting he chaired earlier with the Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS), its members argued that this was because, in the appointment of judges, some of the candidates would be fellow lawyers, and they would know more about them and would be able to give better feedback during the appointment process.

Apart from the AAS, the Commission would also include representatives from the Sabah Law Society (SLS) and the Bar Council.

“They just want the representatives from the AAS and also SLS and the Bar Council, meaning the presidents of these legal fraternities would be representing them to be in the judicial appointment committee.

“This committee is a statutory act so we will need to have amendments on that particular Act to include these three bodies. That is good because they want to be inclusive,” he told a press conference after the meeting at Bangunan Sultan Iskandar near Simpang Tiga here this afternoon.

At the moment the Commission has nine commissioners who would sit and decide on the appointment of new judges for the High Courts, Courts of Appeal and the Federal Court.

“After listening to them, I think there are some justifications to what they (AAS) said because they want to know that their fellow lawyers, because some of the appointments are from the legal fraternity, to become judges.

“Because some of the judges are legal officers from various legal services, they also want some of the judges to be appointed from their legal fraternity so that they will be able to recommend to the judicial committee whether this person is suitable or not, because they would know them,” Liew explained. — DayakDaily