The five judges who will decide Anwar's fate

comments     Hafiz Yatim     Published     Updated

SODOMY II All five judges hearing Anwar Ibrahim's appeal to set aside his conviction and sentence for Sodomy II at the Federal Court the past week, had served in various capacities with the government before ascending to the apex court.

Unlike Anwar's lead counsel Gopal Sri Ram, or former Chief Justice Zaki Azmi, who were pulled from private practice before ascending to the Federal Court, the five served the government the whole time.

Sri Ram was appointed straight from the private sector where he had his own firm Sri Ram and Co before being appointed straight to the Court of Appeal and retiring as Federal Court judge in 2010.

Zaki ( left ), who was previously an Umno legal adviser, also ran his own firm before being appointed as Federal Court judge and retiring as the Chief Justice in 2011.

Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria, 64, who is leading the five-member bench is known for writing the unanimous judgment in the Perak constitutional crisis, better known as the Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin vs Zambry Abdul Kadir case, when he was the Chief Judge of Malaya.

Justice Arifin, who hails from Pasir Mas, Kelantan, also wrote the majority judgment in the recent Allah controversy case of the Archbishop of the Catholic Church vs the Home Minister.

A graduate in law from University of Sheffield, he pursued his Masters at University College, London, and called to the English Bar in 1980.

He served in various capacities as a magistrate, Sessions Court judge and High Court judge. Prior to that, he served as legal adviser to various ministries and the states of Malacca and Perak.

Court of Appeal president Justice Md Raus Sharif is the number two in the judiciary.

Best known for giving oral judgments immediately if he is leading the panel, either at the Federal Court or Court of Appeal, Justice Raus, 63 ( right ), hails from Rembau, Negeri Sembilan.

He was also on the bench for the Perak constitutional crisis and the Allah cases at the Federal Court.

But in the High Court, he is best known for presiding in the S Shamala and Dr M Jeyaganesh case involving unilateral conversion and custody of children, after Jeyaganesh converted to Islam.

He also presided over the body-snatching case involving former Everest climber M Moorthy @ Mohammad Abdullah.

Justice Raus obtained his LLB from University Malaya and Masters at the London School of Economics and like Justice Arifin, he served as a magistrate, Sessions Court and High Court judge and as state legal adviser for Malacca and Kelantan.

He was also legal adviser to several ministries prior to his ascension to the apex court.

Federal Court judges

Justice Abdull Hamid Embong, is the senior-most Federal Court judge among the 11 other Federal Court judges at present.

The 65-year-old Justice Abdull Hamid is best known as the High Court judge who handled the high profile murder of Norita Samsuddin involving Shah Alam Municipal council engineer Hanif Basree Abdul Rahman.

Justice Abdull Hamid, who is from Kuala Terengganu, also chaired the three-member panel of the Board of Appeal of the Board of Engineers in de-registering the engineer who was involved in the development of the Highlands Towers project.

He was from the premier institution Malay College Kuala Kangsar and has likely attended the premier school at the same time as Anwar, who is two years older.  

He read law at Lincoln's Inn and was appointed a Federal Court judge in 2009.

Justice Abdull Hamid was a magistrate, a public prosecutor and the state legal adviser for Pahang and Negeri Sembilan, and is still serving as vice-president of the Asean Law Association of Malaysia.

The fourth judge, Justice Suriyadi Halim Omar, is the second most senior judge at the Federal Court, and is from Seremban, Negeri Sembilan.

Justice Suriyadi, 63, was also one of the judges who ruled in favour of the majority judgment in the Allah case.

However, he is best known as the presiding High Court judge who found Malacca state executive councillor Sahar Arpan guilty of corruption during the 1990s.

He read law at the Warwick University and was inducted as Barrister-at-law at Lincoln's Inn,  London.

Like the other judges, he has served as a magistrate, Sessions Court judge and deputy public prosecutor at various levels, including the Anti-Corruption Agency.

The fifth Federal Court judge on the bench, Justice Ramly Ali, is best known for being the judge who presided in the Court of Appeal when it granted a stay of the Kuala Lumpur High Court decision recognising Nizar Jamaluddin as the rightful menteri besar of Perak.

Justice Ramly, 61, hails from Duyong, Malacca. This Universiti Malaya graduate has served in various capacities in the Judicial and Legal Service as a magistrate, and was involved in the Task Force of the Securities Commission at the Ministry of Finance.

He was formerly with the Registrar of Companies and when appointed a High Court judge, he presided mostly on commercial cases.

These five judges will decide Anwar's final Sodomy II appeal. The appeal is to resume today, with the court scheduled to sit for half-a-day, with the hearing expected to be extended to tomorrow.  

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