Richard Malanjum
9th Chief Justice of Malaysia
In office
11 July 2018 – 12 April 2019
Nominated byMahathir Mohamad
Appointed byMuhammad V
Preceded byMohamed Raus Sharif
Succeeded byTengku Maimun Tuan Mat
4th Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak
In office
26 July 2006 – 11 July 2018
Nominated byAbdullah Ahmad Badawi
Appointed bySirajuddin
Preceded bySteve Shim Lip Kiong
Succeeded byDavid Wong Dak Wah
Personal details
Richard Malanjum

(1952-10-13) 13 October 1952 (age 70)
Tuaran, Crown Colony of North Borneo (now Sabah, Malaysia)
Nationality Malaysia
SpouseToh Puan Charlene Jintoni
Alma materMARA University of Technology
University of London (LL.B.)
Gray's Inn

Tun Richard Malanjum (born 13 October 1952)[1] is a Malaysian jurist and lawyer who served as the ninth Chief Justice of Malaysia and fourth Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak. Before joining the judicial service, he was a practising lawyer and was the president of the Sabah Law Association, the bar association for the state of Sabah.[2]


He had his early education in Tuaran (he was only born there but brought up in his hometown of Putatan in the Penampang district, where both his parents are originally from as either his father or mother was stationed in the above district due to a job post with the colonial government) which caused his mother to give birth to him in that district, what more spending his partial childhood and teenage years before completing his secondary education at La Salle Secondary School, Kota Kinabalu.

In 1972, he graduated from the MARA Institute of Technology (now Universiti Teknologi MARA) in Shah Alam, Selangor as an external student at the University of London and obtained a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) in 1975. He then furthered his studies in London and managed to complete his Bar-at-Law study the following year.[3]


He started his career as a clerk at the Education Department, Department of Agriculture, Television and Radio Department before moving on as a Welfare Officer at the State Welfare Department.

Having obtained a law degree, Malanjum served at the Sabah Chief Minister's Department and was assigned as Deputy Public Prosecutor at the Sabah State Attorney-General's Chambers.

He was also admitted to the English Bar of the Honourable Society of Gray's Inn in London.

Upon his return to Malaysia, Malanjum continued his service as deputy public prosecutor and senior legal counsel at the Sabah State Attorney-General's Chambers.

In 1977, he was a solicitor with the Malaysian Bar, Sabah and was admitted to the Australian Capital Territory Bar in 1991.

In 1981, Malanjum resigned from his post at the Sabah State Attorney-General's Chambers and joined a legal firm in Kota Kinabalu where he became Sabah Law Association president.

Later, he was appointed as judicial commissioner in early 1992.

In 2006, for the first time since the formation of Malaysia, he became the first Sabahan elevated as Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, the fourth most senior judicial office in Malaysia.[4] Prior to that, the post was held by a British, one from Peninsular Malaysia and several Sarawakians.[3]

He was sworn-in as the ninth Chief Justice of Malaysia, the highest judicial officer in Malaysia on 11 July 2018,[5][6] becoming the first person from the Borneo states of Malaysia to ascend to the office.[7] He retired as Chief Justice on 13 April 2019 having reached the mandatory retirement age.[8]

On 28 January 2022, he was appointed by the Secretary-General as the Ombudsperson of the United Nation's Security Council. He assumed his official functions on 14 February 2022.

Landmark court cases

Called a “fearless and staunch defender of the integrity of the Federal Constitution and fundamental liberties” by Retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk Hishamudin Yunus for his dissenting judgements whilst in Federal Court, Richard was claimed to have made 'brave' judgements in the controversial cases of Lina Joy (2007) in which he had adjudge the insistence by the National Registration Department for a certificate of apostasy from the Federal Territory Syariah Court was not only unlawful but also unreasonable, The Herald/Allah Case (2014) “According to Justice Richard Malanjum, there were merits in the applicant's contention that the Minister's decision contravened Article 11(1) and (3) of the Federal Constitution, and therefore leave to appeal to the Federal Court ought to be granted (whereas in this case leave to appeal to the Federal Court was refused by the Federal Court).”Richard had also made separate judgements in other cases including Public Prosecutor vs Koh Wah Kuan (2007), Sivarasa Rasiah vs Badan Peguam Malaysia (2010), M. Indira Gandhi vs Pengarah Jabatan Agama Islam Perak and others (2018) and Alma Nudo Atenza v Public Prosecutor (The double presumption case) (2019)[9]



  1. ^ "Chief Justice of Malaysia". Judiciary of Malaysia. Archived from the original on 23 January 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  2. ^ "Malanjum the First Kadazandusun to be Chief Judge". Bernama. 26 July 2006. Retrieved 3 November 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Richard Malanjum new Chief Justice". Bernama. Borneo Post. 12 July 2018. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  4. ^ "Operation of the court". Judiciary of Malaysia. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2010.
  5. ^ "Richard Malanjum is new Chief Justice". Bernama. New Straits Times. 11 July 2018. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  6. ^ "Richard Malanjum Ketua Hakim Negara baharu". Bernama (in Malay). Harian Metro. 11 July 2018. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  7. ^ "Richard Malanjum, the first Chief Justice from the Borneo states". Bernama. New Straits Times. 11 July 2018. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  8. ^ Reporter, Desk (13 April 2019). "Chief Justice Richard Malanjum Retires". The Star. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  9. ^ Lim, Ida (21 May 2019). "Richard Malanjum in SIx Landmark Court Cases". Malay Mail. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  10. ^ "Chief Sec Sidek heads King's honours list". The Star. 2 June 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Former Chief Justice and ex-FELDA chairman head King's birthday honours list". The Edge Markets. 13 November 2021. Archived from the original on 13 November 2021. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  12. ^ "Abdullah heads honours list". The Star. 30 March 2006. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  13. ^ "PM ketuai penerima darjah Pahang". Utusan Malaysia (in Malay). 24 October 2006. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  14. ^ "Ex-sportsman among new Sabah Datuks". Ruben Sario. The Star. 16 September 2006. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
Legal offices Preceded byMohamed Raus Sharif Chief Justice of Malaysia 2018–2019 Succeeded byTengku Maimun Tuan Mat Preceded bySteve Shim Lip Kiong Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak 2006–2018 Succeeded byDavid Wong Dak Wah