By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
KOTA KINABALU: The appointment of Tan Sri Richard Malanjum as the new Chief Justice of Malaysia effective Wednesday, has been well received by Sabahans.
Malanjum, 65, received his letter of appointment from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V in a ceremony at the Bilik Singgahsana Kecil (Small Throne Room), Istana Negara, here Wednesday night.
UPKO acting President Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau, who is also deputy Chief Minister cum Minister Of Trade And Industry, in a statement Thursday said under the Pakatan Harapan-Warisan government, “we are now beginning to see the Malaysian Agreement 1963 (MA63) not only being honored and respected, but being implemented as well.
“We in Sabah feel that we are now being truly regarded as Malaysians, an equal partner in the federation based on MA63, and truly this is an era in the Borneonisation process.”
This appointment of Malanjum is thoroughly deserved and we are extremely proud of him, said Tangau, adding Malanjum will be well-served in his new position by his years of experience within the legal and judiciary fraternity.
“Malanjum’s acceptance of this new appointment and responsibility demonstrates his commitment to serving the public and the court system, which in turn will directly fulfil the constitutional promise of justice for all.
“Throughout his career, Tan Sri has come to recognized and be respected of his commitment to upholding the rule of law and protecting the integrity of the constitution,” added Tangau.
Christina Liew, another deputy Chief Minister and Sabah PKR chief, said it was time an east Malaysian was appointed as Chief Justice, a fact she said was certainly based on merit.
“Malanjum is the right person for the job,” said Christina, adding that the Tuaran-born judge is qualified and known to have initiated many programs for the judiciary in Sabah and Sarawak, such as mobile court in Sabah.
“He has been helping the people (natives) who live far away from the town, to issue them birth certificates and identity cards and other documents, and also started the court hearing between Sandaken-Tawau-Kota Kinabalu High Court via video conferencing.
“(Tan Sri) Malanjum is resourceful in his approach in handling of cases. On behalf of PKR we congratulate him on his appointment.”
Also present at the Wednesday ceremony were Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew View Keong, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa and Federal Court Chief Registrar Datuk Seri Latifah Mohd Tahar.
Malanjum, who is former Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, replacing Tun Md Raus Sharif who will resign as the Chief Justice, effective July 31.
Bernama, the national news agency reported that Malanjum who was born in October 1952 in Tuaran, Sabah, had his early education there before completing his secondary education in Kota Kinabalu.
He started his career with the Education Department before moving on to several government departments.
In 1972, he graduated from the MARA Institute of Technology (now Universiti Teknologi MARA) in Shah Alam, Selangor as an external student at the University of London and obtained a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in 1975.
Having obtained a law degree, Malanjum served at the Sabah Chief Minister’s Department and was assigned as deputy public prosecutor at the Sabah State Attorney-General’s Chambers.
He then pursued his studies in London in 1976 and completed his Bar-at-Law study the same year. He was also admitted to the English Bar of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn in London.
Upon his return, Malanjum continued his service as deputy public prosecutor and senior legal counsel at the Sabah State Attorney-General’s Chambers.
In 1977, he was a solicitor with the Malaysian Bar, Sabah and was admitted to the Australian Capitol Territory Bar in 1991.
In 1981, Malanjum resigned from his post at the Sabah State Attorney-General’s Chambers and joined a legal firm in Kota Kinabalu where he became Sabah Law Association president. Later, he was appointed as judicial commissioner in early 1992.
Malanjum is the first native of Sabah to have been appointed as the High Court Judge, Court of Appeal Judge and the Federal Court Judge.
In 2006, for the first time since the formation of Malaysia, he became the first Sabahan appointed as Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak. Prior to that, the post was held by a British, one from Peninsular Malaysia and several Sarawakians.
After the swearing-in ceremony, Sultan Muhammad V presented the letters of appointment to the new Court of Appeal president, Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop and Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Datuk David Wong Dak Wah.
Both Ahmad and Wong are replacing Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin and Malanjum, respectively.
Md Raus and Zulkefli resigned from their posts following consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on June 8.
The retirement age for judges is 66.