PUTRAJAYA – Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria will continue to serve in the legal field even when retired because it is ingrained in him since he first became involved in 1974.
“Retired..I will rest, but I will continue to serve in the legal field..we need some income and to fill the free time,” the ever cheerful Chief Justice who turns 67 in October said in a special interview held at his office here today before his retirement on March 31.
Earlier, before the interview began, he chaired a five-member panel of Federal Court Judges.
Arifin, who joined the civil service as legal officer in the Prime Minister’s Department about 42 years ago before becoming a magistrate in 1976, said he would continue to be active even after retirement.
“I need to be active, I think it is essential to be active, otherwise our mental capacity will also reduce,” said Arifin, who was Perak State Legal Advisor in 1988, Judicial Commissioner in 1992 and High Court Judge in 1994.
Asked who inspired him to join the legal profession, he said: “Everything happened by chance…we were village folks, I was sent by the government to get my degree in Political Science.
“But after talking to the late Kassim Ahmad (former Deputy Home Minister Mohd Kassim Ahmad), I switched courses. That was how it happened,” said the Kelantan-born Arifin who was appointed Appeals Court Judge in 2002, Federal Court Judge in 2005 and Chief Justice of Malaya in 2008.
Arifin was also the person who proposed that the retirement age for judges to be increased from 66 years to 70 since the lifespan of Malaysians had increased.
He said the retirement age for judges in Malaysia was now the lowest compared to other ASEAN countries, and 70 years was the ideal.
“When I attended the ASEAN Law Association (ALA) conference recently, my contemporaries in the other countries were shocked that the retirement age for judges was very young, in other countries like the Philippines, Brunei and Indonesia, it is 70 years. That is the current trend, even in the ASEAN region,” he said.
Arifin, who was appointed Chief Justice in 2011, said the awards given to judges in this country were a form of appreciation and respect for the judicial system.
“It is a form of appreciation, and I have nothing against it,” he said, jokingly adding that there was no cause to object the awards. – BERNAMA