The Malaysian Bar has welcomed the appointment of Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat as the new chief justice of Malaysia.
In a statement, its president Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor said Tengku Maimun is well-known as a fair-minded judge with a good judicial temperament and sound knowledge of the law.
"It is a defining moment in the nation’s history as this is the first time a female had been appointed to the highest office of one of the three arms of the government, the judiciary, others being the legislative and the executive. This goes on to show that gender should never be a consideration over merits and one’s capabilities.
"The Malaysian Bar has always had a good working relationship with her Ladyship from the days she was the chief registrar of the Federal Court. As an equal partner in the administration of justice, the Malaysian Bar is looking forward to a continued close and good working relationship with her Ladyship and the judiciary," he said.
With Tengku Maimun's appointment, it is time for judicial reforms to be carried out to take the judiciary to greater heights, and erase all past negativities, Abdul Fareed added.
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, the immediate past president of the Bar, George Varughese also welcomed Tengku Maimun's appointment, as she is known for her "sound decisions, impeccable judicial temperament, and most of all, her independence".
Earlier today, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had assented to Tengku Maimun's appointment based on the advice of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and consultations with the Conference of Rulers.
Her appointment as chief justice is effective today.
A date for her swearing-in ceremony and receipt of instruments of appointment before the Agong will be announced at a later date, the PMO said.
Tengku Maimun replaces Richard Malanjum, the first East Malaysian chief justice, who retired on April 12.
She turns 60 this year, meaning she has at most another six years and six months on the bench.
Tengku Maimun began her career as a judicial commissioner at the Kuala Lumpur High Court in October 2006.
Later, she was elevated to the Court of Appeal where she served from January 2013 until November 2018 before being made a Federal Court judge.
Among others, Tengku Maimun was a member of the three-panel appellate court bench that made the unanimous landmark ruling that a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock could take on his or her father's surname.