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‘Women will lead judiciary’

PUTRAJAYA: The highest judicial posts will soon be held by women, said Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin.
Speaking after his reappointment, he said the Court of Appeal now has more women judges than men, at 29 to 15.
“One day, the judiciary’s top four positions will be held by women,” he said when asked about the succession plan for the apex court, following his and the Chief Justice's reappointments for two and three years respectively.
He added that the different lengths of their tenure was to avoid having vacancies in the top two judicial posts at the same time.
Those holding the top posts are Chief Justice Tun Md Raus Sharif, 66; Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop, 64; Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Justice Richard Malanjum, 65; and Zulkefli, 66.
Referring to the elevation of three women judges to the Court of Appeal and one to the Federal Court on Monday, Zulkefli said they had bypassed more senior male judges.
“There is no discrimination against gender in the Judiciary, with the selection coming down to merit and seniority,” he said.
He added that Tan Sri Siti Norma Yaakob previously held the post of Chief Judge of Malaya.
Asked about his continued service as Court of Appeal president, Zulkefli said he was in favour of extending the mandatory retirement age of judges so that they could serve until 70, as was the practice at the Indonesian judiciary.
“This should not be automatically extended to all judges. Perhaps for Federal Court judges but not High Court judges. Or those in poor health or unable to go on,” he said.
Md Raus and Zulkefli were appointed to their current positions on April 1.
Md Raus replaced Tun Arifin Zakaria who retired after turning 66 years and six months on March 31.
The matter became a subject of public discussion when the Prime Minister’s Office announced on July 7 that the two would be appointed as additional judges.
Md Raus was supposed to retire on Aug 3 and Zulkefli on Sept 27 following a six-month extension after they turned 66.
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad filed a suit in the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Wednesday to block Zulkefli from continuing beyond his constitutional retirement age.
He argued that Article 125(1) of the Federal Constitution does not allow someone who has reached the service age of 66 years and six months as a judge to be appointed Court of Appeal president.
Dr Mahathir had on Aug 9 filed a similar lawsuit against Md Raus’ reappointment as Chief Justice.
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