5 facts about Malaysia’s first female Chief Justice, Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat

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This week, Malaysia has been abuzz with the mentions of the nation’s Chief Justice, the Right Honourable Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat.

Proving that women are on par with their male counterparts, Tun Tengku Maimun led the five-member panel that oversaw the proceeding involving Malaysia’s ex-premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the Federal Court, the highest court in Malaysia’s judiciary system.

Alongside her were Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, and Federal Court Judges Datuk Nalini Pathmanathan, Datuk Mary Lim Thiam Suan, and Datuk Muhamad Zabidin Mohd Diah.

Her Ladyship is also one of Prestige‘s Women of Power, where we select 100 women in authoritative roles who are active changemakers in their respective fields and industry.

Here are five facts to know about the Right Honourable Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat

She is the first-ever female Chief Justice of Malaysia

On 2 May 2019, Her Ladyship was appointed as the Chief Justice of Malaysia. She is preceded by Tun Richard Malanjum who retired in April of the same year. Her ascension marks the first time a woman takes the highest seat in the nation’s judiciary system.

She had a long journey to becoming the Chief Justice of Malaysia

In order to become the Chief Justice of Malaysia, Her Ladyship had to fulfil three main criteria. First, a Chief Justice of Malaysia must be a Malaysian citizen. Second, one must have been a lawyer handling cases in higher courts, or become a member of the judicial service for at least 10 years. Finally, one must be appointed by none other than the Agong himself.

She is known for her sound decisions

As expected for someone of her calibre, Tun Tengku Maimun is famed for her astute decision-making. The former Malaysian Bar president George Varughese commended Her Ladyship for this, and said “her appointment augurs well, especially for the reform of the judiciary.”

Chief Justice Tengku Maimun has judged several landmark cases

In 2013, Her Ladyship presided over a case involving the conviction of two former Malaysian police commandos and Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu at the Court of Appeal.

 

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In 2016, Her Ladyship was also involved in the Karpal Singh sedition case. She was the sole judge part of a three-person Court of Appeal panel to dissent the decision to convict. Three years following the decision, the late politician was unanimously acquitted by a seven-person Federal Court panel.

Most recently, she led a five-member Federal Court bench in a case related to former prime minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak.

At home, the Chief Justice is a mother of four

Married to eminent lawyer Datuk Zamani Ibrahim, the couple is parents to four children: Ahmad ‘Irfaan, Siti Mardhiyyah, Nabilah, and Sakinah.

Following their parents’ footsteps, Siti Mardhiyyah is a lawyer, and Sakinah studies law.

Featured image credit: Judicial Appointments Commission; Hero image credit: Office of the Chief Registrar, Federal Court of Malaysia

This story first appeared on Prestige Online Malaysia

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