There's A New Chief Justice And He's The First From East Malaysia

Tan Sri Richard Malanjum has many credentials and experience in the judiciary of Malaysia.

Cover image via Free Malaysia Today

Tan Sri Richard Malanjum is the new Chief Justice of Malaysia

According to Bernama, 65-year-old Malanjum was sworn in and received his letter of appointment from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V in a ceremony at Istana Negara on Wednesday, 11 July.

Malanjum's appointment will see him replace outgoing judge Tan Sri Dato' Seri Md Raus bin Sharif who submitted his resignation last month. It was reported that Md Raus' tenure as Chief Justice will end on 31 July.

Here are some things that you should know about the new Chief Justice:

1. He is the first Chief Justice from East Malaysia

Malanjum is said to have come from a respected Kadazan family from Putatan and known to be the grandson of the late OKK Lojunga, a prominent native leader of yesteryears who had contributed to the local community. Lojunga was the first district chief of Penampang during the British colonial rule before the formation of Malaysia in 1963.  

Sabah-born Malanjum made history yesterday as he became the first ever East Malaysian to be appointed as the successor to the Chief Justice post.

Malanjum's early years were spent in at Bukit Hill School, Putatan and Sacred Heart Primary School, Kota Kinabalu where he received his early education. He eventually completed secondary school education at Salle Secondary School.

The respectable judge spent the first few years of his career as a clerk before he obtained a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in 1975 to venture into the law field and has never looked back since.

Today, Malanjum has many credentials and experience in the judiciary of Malaysia, having served in different capacities including as deputy public prosecutor and senior legal counsel at the Sabah State Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC), judge to the Kuching High Court, and Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, among others. 

2. He was the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak for more than 10 years

Image via NST

Prior to this appointment as Chief Justice, Malanjum was also known as the first native of Sabah to have been appointed as the High Court Judge, Court of Appeal Judge, and the Federal Court Judge. 

Bernama reported that Malanjum became the first Sabahan to be appointed as Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak in 2006. It was pointed out his predecessors were a British, one from Peninsular Malaysia, and Sarawakians.

3. During his tenure as Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Malanjum transformed the judiciary system for the better

Tan Sri Richard Malanjum (fifth from right) was sworn in as the new Chief Justice of Malaysia effective 11 July.

Image via Malay Mail

United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO) acting president Wilfred Madius Tangau expressed support for the appointment as Malanjum as Chief Justice of Malaysia last month, saying that Malanjum has a proven track record with his exemplary achievements.

In a statement published on 14 June, Tangau highlighted that Malanjum's efforts in introducing the e-filing system for the courts was a game-changer. 

“I remember among the many notable things that Malanjum had done over the years. But one of the most transformative but perhaps not known by many was his determination to transform the Sabah and Sarawak court system a couple of years back.

"Malanjum believed strongly that we needed to upgrade and transform the courts by introducing the e-filling system for all the courts for court processes. Instead of suggesting and waiting for someone else to do it, he actually funded the entire exercise by forking out his own money to implement the new system," Tangau said, as reported by The Borneo Post

4. He is the most senior Federal Court Judge

Malanjum was the youngest Federal Court Judge when he appointed to the post at the age of 52.

Former Court of Appeal Judge, Datuk Seri Mohd Hishamudin Yunus previously backed Malanjum to be appointed as the next Chief Justice of Malaysia due to his vast experience in the Malaysian judiciary system.

"Because he is a very senior judge. In fact, he is senior as a judge to the current Chief Justice (Md Raus) and it is high time that he move up to fit in the Chief Justice position.

"He is the most senior in terms of years of service as a judge. In terms of years of service as a judge, he is even more senior than Raus," he told Malay Mail in June.

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