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Overhauling Malaysia | Institutional Reforms

Many Malaysians placed great importance in the promised institutional reforms promised by the then opposition PH government. Many voted for PH in hope of these reforms to improve the country’s broken-down institutions. 

Institutional Reforms |  

The Judicial Appointments Commission

Posted on September 18, 2018


The Appointment of Judges in Malaysia
Under the Malaysian Constitution, The Yang di-Pertuan Agong appoints the Superior Court judges on the advice of the Prime Minister (PM) after consulting the Conference of Rulers and the PM is advised by the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) on the selection of the candidates. 

What is the Judicial Appointments Commission?
The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) was established in 2009, under the Judicial Appointments Commission Act 2009 (JAC Act) to ensure that the appointment of judges to the Superior Courts and also judiciary commissioners are undertaken in an unbiased, fair, transparent and constitutional manner.  The JAC selects and recommends the qualified candidates to the PM. 

Who are the members of JAC and who appoints them?
The prime minister appoints the members of JAC.  JAC comprises the top four office-bearers, a Federal Court judge and four other eminent persons.  The Chief Justice of the Federal Court is the Chairman of the commission and the other office-bearers comprises the President of the Court of Appeal, Chief Judge of the High Court in Malaya and the Chief Judge in the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak.  The appointment of the other members are also at the discretion of the Prime Minister

What does the Commission do?

The duties of the JAC are as follows:

  1. Selects and recommends qualified candidates to be appointed as judges to the Prime Minister

  2. Advisory role to the Prime Minister on the country’s judiciary system, for example, recommend programmes to improve the administration of justice.

  3. They administer the judge selection system which includes:-

  • receive applications

  • formulate and implement selection criteria

Calls for Reforms of the JAC
In recent years there have been calls for reforms to remove the unrestricted powers of the Prime Minister in the appointment of judges of the Superior Courts and also the appointment of members of the commission who select and recommend these judges.  The Prime Minister also holds the power to remove them.


Requirements to be a Judge of the Superior Courts
The guidelines on who is qualified as a judge of the Superior Court >


The Superior Courts in Malaysia
The superior courts consist of:

  • The Federal Court

The Federal Court of Malaysia is the highest judicial authority and the final court of appeal in Malaysia. Its decision binds all the courts below.

  • The Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal is the second highest court in the hierarchy below the Federal Court.


  • The High Court (The High Court of Malaya and the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak)

The High Courts in Malaysia are the third-highest courts in the hierarchy of courts.

News Links


New Malaysia New  Govt Sep 18, 2018 @ 07:00

Four new appointees to the judicial commission

The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) sees four new faces, with the appointments of three former Court of Appeal judges and constitutional law expert Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi on Sept 4.|Read more >|TheStar

Legality of reappointing top judges – Federal Court to deliver the verdict on Sept 24

The Federal Court will deliver its judgment on Sept 24 on the suit by the Malaysian Bar and the Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) challenging the reappointment of two retired judges as Chief Justice and Court of Appeal President last year.|Read more >|TheStar



Building confidence in the Judiciary >
Reform appointment process before replacing top judges say
lawyers >

It appears even post of chief justice has been politicised >
Uproar in Malaysia over two judges' reappointment >


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