Attorney-General Tan Sri Apandi Ali is both the legal adviser to the government and final arbiter on decisions to prosecute, which leads to a conflict of interest. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 30, 2015.
There is a fundamental conflict of interest in the functions and powers of the Attorney-General which enables him to act against national interests, G25, the grouping of eminent Malays said today, while urging for his prosecutorial powers to be transferred to an independent office of the Director of Prosecutions (DPP).
The group deemed it poor governance that the A-G was the legal adviser for the government and the final arbiter on decisions to prosecute and urged the resolution of this conflict.
It added that the office of the A-G should not combine with the role of adviser to the government and as public prosecutor.
“G25 would like to recommend the transfer of the prosecutorial powers to an independent Office of the Director of Prosecutions.
“In the same vein, greater safeguards are needed on the appointment and removal of the A-G and the proposed director of public prosecutions,” the group said in a statement, adding that the appointment of the A-G and the DPP should be in the same manner as the appointment of a judge or the auditor general.
The group said this was so that the A-G and the DPP could enjoy security of tenure to be able to carry out their duties without fear or favour and also to be seen as independent.
Likewise, the group added that the removal of the A-G or DPP should be in the same manner as that of a judge or the Auditor-General.
In July, former A-G Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, who served as A-G for 13 years from 2003, was removed abruptly from office while part of the multi-agency special task force investigating debt-ridden state-owned fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and the US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) channelled into the private accounts of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
He then retired from the judicial and legal service on October 5, a day before turning 60 which is the mandatory retirement age for civil servants.
Gani was replaced by former Federal Court judge Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali.
Earlier this month, Apandi announced the AGC's decision not to take further action against 1MDB with regards to making inaccurate disclosures to obtain permissions.
He said the decision was made despite Bank Negara's appeal for a review because there had been no additional evidence.
Bank Negara the following day revealed that it had revoked three permissions granted to 1MDB between 2009 and 2011 because of inaccurate disclosures, and ordered the state-owned investor to repatriate back its overseas investments totalling US$1.83 billion.
Apandi's announcement drew criticism, with chief 1MDB critic Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad accusing the A-G of behaving like a judge.
The A-G however reiterated on October 13 that since no new evidence was made available, there was no need to review the decision not to prosecute 1MDB. – October 30, 2015.
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