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Monday, February 16, 2009

> Bar Council's report card on judges

The Bar Council will direct its state Bar committees to give feedback on the performance of all judges for submission to the newly-established Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC).

“At the council meeting on Friday, we decided to set up a process whereby we will get feedback from the state Bar chairmen and lawyers in relation to the performance of judges,” said council chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan.

Asked whether the JAC had asked the council to do so, she replied: “We have not been asked to provide such information but we are doing so anyway.

“Our understanding of the workings of any JAC is that they must receive relevant feedback.

“The Bar is an important stakeholder in the administration of justice and it is also in an ideal position to do so. This feedback would be relevant for the promotion of judges,” she added.

The JAC Act 2009 also provides for the commission to make other recommendations about the judiciary.

“We are doing this following the lack of meaningful consultation with the council before the appointment of the four eminent persons to the JAC,” said Ambiga.

On Feb 10, the Prime Minister appointed the following as the eminent persons: Chief Justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad, former Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Steve Shim, former High Court Justice Tan Sri L.C. Vohrah and former Attorney General Datuk Seri Ainum Mohd Saaid.

Four members of the JAC by virtue of the position in the judiciary are: Chief Justice Tan Sri Zaki Tun Azmi (who sits as JAC chairman), Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, Chief Judge of Malaya Datuk Arifin Zakaria and Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum.

The fifth representative of the judiciary is Federal Court Justice Datuk Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin, appointed under Section 5(1)(e) of the Act - The Star.