AG owes the public an explanation.
A lawyer wants the Malaysian Bar to seek legal power to allow it to prosecute Tengku Adnan Mansor over a RM2 million corruption case at the Federal Court.
Syed Iskandar Syed Jaafar al-Mahdzar said the Bar could file a judicial review to direct the attorney-general (AG) to give it a fiat to prosecute the appeal and to make the necessary application for an extension of time.
This is similar to the fiat given to Gopal Sri Ram and V Sithambaram to prosecute 1MDB and related cases. In the case of the two legal giants, however, the AG voluntarily gave the green light.
“The law has changed after a Federal Court last year ruled that the AG (who is also a public prosecutor) is subject to judicial review,” Syed Iskandar told FMT.
He said paragraph 1 of the Schedule to the Courts of Judicature 1964 enabled the court to give directions to do justice according to the circumstances of the case.
“Surely the provision is wide enough for the court to direct the AG to grant a fiat to the Bar to pursue the appeal to the apex court,” he said.
Syed Iskandar said the Bar must also strive to uphold the cause of justice without regard to its own interests or that of its members, uninfluenced by fear or favour.
Syed Iskandar said this in response to a statement by Bar president AG Kalidas who called on AG Idrus Harun to provide reasons for the discontinuation of criminal cases of public interest, including that of Tengku Adnan who’s better known as Ku Nan.
Kalidas, who spoke at the opening of the judiciary’s legal year, said transparency was a central tenet in the rule of law and the basis for public trust and confidence.
“We appreciate that Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution clothes the AG with wide discretion to institute, conduct, or discontinue any proceeding for a criminal offence.
In November, Kalidas had also demanded that Idrus provide an explanation for the government’s decision to withdraw its appeal against the acquittal of Ku Nan after a majority 2-1 ruling.
Meanwhile, lawyer Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali said Idrus was duty-bound to explain why he had refused to pursue the appeal in Ku Nan’s case.
“Idrus must step away from being prime lawyer to the government when he wears the hat of AG. As public prosecutor and guardian of public interest, he owes the public an explanation,” he said.
He said if Idrus could offer an explanation as to why he withdrew corruption charges against former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman in 2020, he should be consistent by doing the same in Ku Nan’s matter too.
On Oct 29, the majority Court of Appeal judgment said the RM2 million given to Ku Nan by a businessman had been proven by the defence to be a political donation for two by-elections.
However, Justice Abu Bakar Jais, in the dissenting judgment, said the trial court had made a correct finding that the former federal territories minister had pocketed RM2 million as there was no evidence that he or his company had subsequently channelled the money received to Umno. – FMT