By ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / Pic By BERNAMA
Federal Court Judge Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat (picture) has been appointed as the country’s new Chief Justice — the first woman to ever head Malaysia’s judiciary body.
Her appointment, to replace retired Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, is effective immediately, the Prime Minister’s Office announced yesterday.
Malanjum, the first East Malaysian to helm the top office, had to retire after he reached the constitutional maximum age to hold the office at 66 years and six months.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah has consented to the appointment of Tengku Maimun on the advice of Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and upon consultation with the Conference of Rulers.
Tengku Maimun, 59, started in the judiciary body as a judicial commissioner in 2006 and has been serving as a Federal Court judge since November last year.
She has delivered judgements in many high-profile cases, including a recent appeal by former PM Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak to have his SRC International Sdn Bhd case transferred from the Sessions Court to the High Court for trial.
She also chaired a three-men bench on an appeal filed by then Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin in a defamation lawsuit in which Khairy was ordered to pay RM150,000 in general damages to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Tengku Maimun’s oathtaking ceremony will be announced by the Chief Registrar of the Federal Court of Malaysia after obtaining consent from the King.
Media reports suggested the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) had submitted three names to the Conference of Rulers in April for approval.
The two other names were believed to be Federal Court Judges Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed and Tan Sri Idris Harun.
Azahar was elevated to the apex court in 2014 and has extensive experience in the Attorney General’s Chambers.
Idris had served as a solicitor general and a legal advisor to the Election Commission and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, before appointed as a Federal Court judge in November last year.