At least two retired senior judges have opined that the appointment of Chief Justice Md Raus Sharif as an additional judge of the Federal Court was unconstitutional, but senior lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah has a differing view.
Shafee said almost everyone thought Md Raus had appointed himself and Court of Appeal President Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin as an additional judge but it was former chief justice Arifin Zakaria who had appointed him prior to retirement on March 30, 2017.
"He may have been influenced by the fact that the two top judges after him would have only four months and six months respectively to hold the two top posts.
"The former CJ must have felt bad about this 'flash in the pan' tenure as compared to his, which was more than six years," he said in a statement.
Top judges face a mandatory retirement age at 66 and six months but an additional judge does not face the same age limit.
Shafee pointed out that prior to these two appointments, Arifin had also brought back Federal Court judge Jeffrey Tan Kok Hwa.
He added that similarly in 1965, Federal Court judge S Chelvasingam MacIntyre was brought back as an additional judge.
However, in these instances, the additional judges were not the CJ or Court of Appeal president.
But Shafee argued that nothing in the Federal Constitution forbade an additional judge from being a CJ or Court of Appeal president...