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Monday, March 27, 2017

Increase retirement age of judges to 70, says outgoing Chief Justice

PUTRAJAYA - The retirement age for judges should be increased to 70 years old, said Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria.

  "We should amend our Constitution to increase the retirement age as the life expectancy of Malaysians has gone up," said Arifin at a special media interview at his meeting room here on Monday.

The current retirement age of judges in the Federal Constitution is 66 years old and six months, and Arifin will retire on Friday after serving in the judiciary and legal services for 42 years.

Arifin said that judges retire at the age of 70 in England, Indonesia, the Philippines and Brunei.

"The current retirement age of our judges is quite young compared to other jurisdictions. We have to be trendy, we have to follow the trend," he said.

He however added that it is up to the Government to make a decision on the matter, and said that presently judges can resign after serving for a minimum five-year period, adding that the judiciary could not stop judges who want to retire early.

Arifin also urged judges to write dissenting judgments when there was a need to do so.

"There must be real reasons to dissent. Don't simply dissent for the sake of dissenting. If you feel you need to depart from the views of the majority, you are duty bound to depart," he said.

Asked about judges receiving titles, Arifin said he did not object to judges receiving titles.

"If the Ruler gives a title to a judge, I think it is a honour for the judiciary for judges to being conferred with the titles. I will not object," said Arifin.

He said judges would write in to him as a matter of courtesy to inform over the awarding of titles.

To questions about his post-retirement plans, Arifin said he would accept a post as a consultant in a law firm in a manner similar to other retired judges.

"Why not?  You need some income and something to fill up the time. I need to be active, otherwise my mental capacity will be reduced," he said.

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