KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 — The positions of Malaysia’s Chief Shariah Court Judge and Shariah Judiciary Department (JKSM) director-general has been vacant for the past three months and needs to be filled immediately, Utusan Malaysia reported today.
The newspaper cited Muslim Lawyers Association president Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar who urged the Public Service Department (PSD) to immediately look into filling the vacancies for both positions as they are important in carrying out Shariah judicial functions.
He said the Chief Shariah Court Judge and JKSM director-general are a key roles in ensuring the empowerment of the Shariah Court.
“Those helming the two posts not only handle court cases, but also coordinate efforts to standardise the management and administration of Shariah Courts nationwide.
“In my view, the vacancies should be filled immediately with a focus on appointing an officer with authority who has the experience and integrity,” Zainul Rijal told the Malay daily.
Zainul Rijal, who is also a certified mediator and Shariah law commentator, said the two positions have been left vacant for too long and have not been filled since last December.
Both positions were previously held by Datuk Mohd Na'im Mokhtar before he was appointed as Islamic affairs minister last December 3.
Zainul Rijal said it was up to the PSD to appoint the person based on the candidate’s seniority and qualification.
Shariah Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Mohd Amran Mat Zain was reported to be temporarily helming the Chief Shariah Court Judge and JKSM director-general posts.
There are currently six judges in the Shariah Court of Appeal who qualify with a Jusa B grade (senior government officer rank), which is the most senior position after the Chief Shariah Judge.
Apart from Mohd Amran, the eligible judges are Datuk Mohd Shukor Sabudin, Datuk Mohd Radzi Abd Latif, Datuk Mohamad Shakir Abdul Hamid, Datuk Abas Nordin and Noor Hadina Ahmad Zabidi.