PUTRAJAYA: Tan Sri Zaharah Ibrahim was today sworn in as Chief Judge of Malaya — the second female to be appointed to the position.
Her appointment follows the consent of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V on July 11, under advise from Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed and after convening with the Council of Rulers.
When asked by the media, she briefly said she was proud to be appointed to the role.
Zaharah, 65, who is a mother of three, took her oath in front of Senior High Court Judge Datuk Su Geok Yim and assumed the third highest ranking position in the judiciary of Malaysia.
Before this, Tan Sri Siti Norma Yaakob was the first lady who was the Chief Judge of Malaya from 2005 to 2007.
Zaharah takes over from predecessor Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop, who was promoted to President of the Court of Appeal on July 12.
Also present at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya were Attorney-General Tommy Thomas and a representative of the Bar Council president.
Some of the senior members of the Malaysian judiciary who were present were the new Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk David Wong Dak Wah and Federal Court Chief Registrar Datuk Seri Latifah Mohd Tahar.
Zaharah who was a Federal court judge for three years before this, graduated from University Malaya with a Bachelors degree in Law in 1977 and started her career in the legal fraternity as a contractual Legal Officer in the same year.
She has had an impressive career with about 41 years in the judiciary with various posts including as a magistrate in Malacca.
Zaharah also served as Selangor state legal adviser for about two years from April 1, 1994 to May 1996.
Aside from a brief five-month stint as the director of intellectual property under the then Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs in 1992, Zaharah spent about half of her career working in the Attorney-General's Chambers' division that drafts laws to be passed in Dewan Rakyat.
Zaharah was appointed on May 16, 1996 as Deputy Parliamentary Draftsman I and was promoted months later on August 1 to be the Parliamentary Draftsman or head of the AGC's drafting division, holding that post for eight years until her appointment as a judicial commissioner in 2004.
Zaharah was confirmed as a High Court judge on July 28, 2006, and became a Court of Appeal judge almost four years later on April 14, 2010.
She was then promoted to be a Federal Court judge on February 16, 2015.
In her new position, she will continue to preside over cases in the Federal Court as well as overseeing the judges in the High Court in peninsular Malaysia, which can have up to 60 judges at any one time, based on the Federal Constitution.