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First Sabahan sworn in as new chief justice

KUALA LUMPUR – Richard Malanjum was sworn in as the new Chief Justice of Malaysia effective on 11 July 2018.  He was the first Sabahan to be appointed to the post.

Malanjum, 65, received his letter of appointment from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V in a ceremony at the Bilik Singgahsana Kecil (Small Throne Room), Istana Negara, here on the night of July 11.

Also present were Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, Chief Secretary to the Government Ali Hamsa and Federal Court chief registrar Latifah Mohd Tahar.

Malanjum, who is former Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, replaces Md Raus Sharif who will resign as the chief justice, effective July 31.

His appointment marks a new milestone in the country’s history as he is the first person from the Borneo states to be appointed to the top post in the judiciary.

Born on 13 Oct 1952 in Tuaran, Sabah, Malanjum received his early education at the Bukit Hill School, Putatan and Sacred Heart Primary School, Kota Kinabalu before completing his secondary education at the La Salle Secondary School, Kota Kinabalu.

The Kadazandusun lad then began his career as a clerk at the Education Department, Department of Agriculture, Television and Radio Department and as a welfare officer at the State Welfare Department.

In July 1972, he graduated from the Mara Institute of Technology in Shah Alam, Selangor (now known as Universiti Teknologi Mara) as an external student at the University of London and obtained a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in 1975.

Upon graduation with a law degree, he was appointed as an administrative officer in the Chief Minister’s Department, Sabah, but he was assigned as a deputy public prosecutor in the Sabah State Attorney General’s Chambers.

In 1976, Malanjum furthered his studies in London and successfully completed his “Bar-at-Law” study within the same year.

He was admitted to the English Bar of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn in London and upon returning, he continued his service as a deputy public prosecutor and senior legal counsel in the Sabah State Attorney General’s Chambers.

Malanjum then was admitted as a solicitor in the Malaysian Bar, Sabah, in 1977, and was also admitted to the Australian Capitol Territory (ACT) Bar in 1991.

In 1981, he resigned and proceeded to join a private legal firm in Kota Kinabalu until 1992. He was then appointed as a judicial commissioner in March 1992.

In 1993, he was elevated as a High Court judge in Kuching Sarawak. He was also placed in the High Court of Miri and Sandakan in 1994 and 1996 and he was transferred back to the Kuching High Court in May 2002.

In August 2002, he was appointed as judge of the Court of Appeal Malaysia and later in June 2005, he was appointed as Federal Court judge of Malaysia.

Malanjum is the first native of Sabah to be appointed as a High Court judge, judge of the Court of Appeal as well as the judge of the Federal Court.

At the age of 52, he was the youngest Federal Court Judge appointed to the post. On July 26, 2006, he was officially appointed as chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak until to date.

Married to Marina Tiu, the couple have three children, namely Jessica Eleanor, Edgar Richard and Carl Barnabas. – Bernama/FMT

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