Indian Malaysian lawyers are not much interested in judicial service, preferring the affluence of private practice to the sequestered lives of judges, Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, has claimed.
"Because of the affluence of private practice, and the lifestyle of judges who cannot socialise, they seem less interested in becoming judges," the de facto law minister told the Dewan Rakyat during Question Time today.
The minister said prominent Indian Malaysian lawyers had been invited to serve as judges, but to no avail.
Nazri was replying a supplementary question from John Fernendez (DAP-Seremban) who asked why not many Indian Malaysians are sitting as judges.
Fernendez, in his main question, had asked Nazri to state the number of judges in the Federal Court as well as their racial and gender composition.
Nazri said nine judges have been appointed to the Federal Court, two of whom are women, one is a non-Malay and one is from Sabah and Sarawak.
‘Merit, not gender’
Fernandez expressed the hope that the judiciary will become more gender sensitive and appoint more women judges.
Nazri said that, while the government is sensitive to the need to increase women’s participation in the judiciary, it would be better to appoint judges based on merit rather than gender.
The two women judges in the Federal Court also make up “almost 30 percent” of the bench - the minimum target set by the government for appointment of women to decision-making positions - he said.
Nazri added that the reason for the larger number of Malays and other bumiputeras on the bench is that many of the appointees are drawn from the civil service, which itself is dominated by this group.