Judicial Appointments Commission Bill will be unconstitutional, if passed by Parliament

I am glad that there is at least one other fraternity in the legislative circle that feels the same way as I do with regard to the proposed Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) Bill.

The Sabah JPs (Justices of the Peace) had recently come out into the open and also declared that the JAC is “unconstitutional” as it conflicts with Article 122 B and 161 E (2)(b) of the Federal Constitution, as reported here.

I wish to put on record that I find the sudden rush by the Badawi government in tabling this JAC Bill was most unacceptable.  This JAC Bill and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Bill 2008 are very important Bills that will affect the progress of our nation.  The Badawi government is giving the MPs less than 4 days to do research to take part in the debate. I find the attitude of the government most unacceptable and it is taking the MPs for granted.

The proposed new procedures under JAC will be a departure from the present mode as provided under Article 122 B of the Federal Constitution. Presently under Article 122B (1), a person is appointed a judge by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister, after consulting the Conference of Rulers.

Under Article 122B (2):  Before tendering his advice as to the appointment under Clause (1) of a judge other than the Chief Justice of the Federal Court,  Prime Minister shall consult if the appointment is to one of the High Courts, the Chief Judge of that Court.”

Under the JAC Bill, the Commission will do all the selection and the Prime Minister can ignore their recommendations and submit his own candidate to the Agong for the appointment.

In the context of Sabah and Sarawak the proposed new mode runs contrary to the provisions of Article 161E (b) of the Federal Constitution which states:

Article 161E: Safeguards for constitutional position of States of Sabah and Sarawak

(2)   No amendment shall be made to the Constitution without the concurrence of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of the State of Sabah or Sarawak or each of the States of Sabah and Sarawak concerned, if the amendment is such as to affect the operation of the Constitution as regards any of the following matters:

(a)    ….

(b)   the constitution and jurisdiction of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak and the appointment, removal and suspension of judges of that court;’

It is obvious that the JAC Bill if passed by Parliament will be unconstitutional.  I hope that the PM will wake up and withdraw the JAC Bill.  If the PM really wants to pass the JAC Bill then he will have to amend Article 122B and 161 E (2) (b) first.

I will definitely oppose this JAC Bill during the debate in Parliament based on the way in which the Government is rushing the said Bill through Parliament and more importantly, it will be unconstitutional if passed by Parliament.

– Terjemahan oleh Lee Wee Tak – Ucapan ribuan terima kasih dari Wee Choo Keong –

Suruhanjaya Perlantikan Hakim bercanggah dengan Perlembagaan jika diluluskan

Saya gembira sekurang-kurangnya suatu pihak dalam bidang perundangan sama berpendapat dengan saya mengenai Rang Undang-undang Suruhanjaya Perlantikan Hakim (JAC)

Para JP Sabah (Justices of the Peace) baru-baru ini keluar dan mengumumkan bahawa JAC bercanggah dengan Artikel 122 B dan 161 E (2)(b) dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan seperti dilaporkan di sini.

Saya ingin merakamkan pendapat saya bahawa pembentangan Rang Undang-undang ini dalam Parlimen oleh pentadbiran Badawi secara tergesa-gesa tidak seharusnya diterima. Rang Undang-undang ini dan Rang Undang-undang Suruhanjaya Anti-Rasuah Malaysia adalah amat penting untuk masa hadapan dan pembangunan negara kita. Pentadbiran Badawi hanya memberi para Ahli Parlimen 4 hari sahaja untuk membuat kajian sebelum mengambil bahagian dalam perbahasan dua Rang Undang-undang ini. Saya rasa sikap pihak pentadbiran ini tidak boleh diterima dan tidak mengendahkan kepentingan para Ahli Parlimen

Prosedur yang disarankan dalam Rang Undang-undang ini berlainan dengan prosedur sedia ada bawah peruntukkan Artikel 122B dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan di mana menurut Artikel 122B (1), para hakim adalah dilantikkan oleh DYMM Yang Dipertuan Agong atas nasihat Perdana Menteri serta selepas persidangan Majlis Raja-raja.

Menurut Artikel 122B (2): “Sebelum memberi nasihat mengenai perlantikan hakim bawah bahagian (1), kecuali Ketua Hakim Mahkamah Persekutuan, Perdana Menteri harus memberi nasihat jika perlantikan adalah untuk Hakim Mahkamah Tinggi”

Menurut Rang Undang-undang JACl, Suruhanjaya akan membuat pilihan tetapi Perdana Menteri boleh tidak menghiraukan saranan mereka dan membuat cadangannya sendiri dan mencalonkan pilihan sendirinya kepada DYMM Yang Dipertuan Agong.

Dalam konteks Sabah dan Sarawak, prosedur yang dicadangkan bercanggah dengan peruntukkan Artikel 161E(b) Perlembagaan Persekutuan yang menyatakan bahawa

Artikel 161E: Perlindungan kepada kedudukan perlembagaan Sabah dan Sarawak

(2) tiada pindaan terhadap perlembagaan boleh dibuat tanpa persetujuan Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sabah atau Sarawak, jikapindaan perlembagaan melibatkan perkara-perkara di bawah:

(a) ….

(b) kandungan dan had kuasa Mahkamah Tinggi Sabah dan Sarawak dan perlantikan, pemecatan dan penggantungan hakim mahkamah tersebut;

Jelaslah jika JAC diluluskan di Parlimen ia bercanggah dengan Perlembagaan Persekutuan. Saya harap Perdana Menteri akan sedar dan menarik balik JAC. Jika beliau ingin sangat meluluskan JAC, beliau harus meminda artikel 122B & 161 E (2) (b) dulu.

Saya pasti akan menentang Rang Undang-undang JAC ini semasa perbahasan di Parlimen kerana kaedah menggesakan Rang Undang-undang ini di Parlimen dan lebih penting lagi, ia bercanggah dengan Perlembagaan Persekutuan jika diluluskan di Parlimen.

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