Malaysian top judges quit as new government cleans house

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 13, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Malaysia’s top two judges are
resigning, court officials said Wednesday, the latest senior public servants
to leave their posts since the former government lost power.

Chief Justice Raus Sharif and appeals court president Zulkefli Ahmad
Makinudin are to step down on July 31, a judiciary statement said.

They are the latest senior officials to quit, or be forced from, their jobs
since Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad won a shock election victory last month
on a pledge to clean up a government beset by scandal and other abuses.

The attorney-general and central bank governor have both left their jobs
after allegations related to a scandal surrounding sovereign wealth fund
1MDB.

Ousted former prime minister Najib Razak, his family and cronies were
accused of plundering billions of dollars from the fund in a sophisticated
fraud.

Najib, who has been questioned by anti-graft investigators twice over the
controversy since losing power, and 1MDB deny any wrongdoing.

The judiciary statement said the judges’ resignations were approved by the
king on June 8, as is required by law for such senior legal posts.

The judges had their terms extended last year despite exceeding the legal
retirement age of 66 for their posts, in a move that sparked protests from
Mahathir — then in the opposition — and the legal community.

Critics say the independence of Malaysia’s judiciary has been eroded
steadily over the years.

Mahathir, who is 92 and serving as premier for the second time, is himself
accused of starting the process of weakening the courts in the 1980s during
his first period in office.

 

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