After settlement, Dr M insists he was right to end ex-AG’s term

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Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad insists that he made the right decision in terminating Mohamed Apandi Ali’s service as the attorney-general (AG) in June 2018 amid the 1MDB probe.

In a statement today, Mahathir expressed regret over Putrajaya’s decision to arrive at a settlement last month in the RM2.23 million suit filed by Apandi against Mahathir and the government for wrongful termination.

Mahathir maintains that the government followed due process in terminating Apandi’s contract as the country’s chief legal adviser.

“At that time, I felt that he could not act independently as he had been an Umno lawyer for a long time. He was unlikely to act fairly in the investigation into 1MDB and the misconduct of (former prime minister) Najib Abdul Razak. Moreover, Apandi said Najib was not guilty because there was no case even before any investigation was carried out,” he said.

Apandi’s bias was proven as Najib was convicted in a High Court and Court of Appeal, said Mahathir.

“I plead not guilty and am prepared for Apandi’s claims to be tried in court,” said Mahathir.

“I was shocked to read the news about the out-of-court settlement being made between the government and Apandi recently. I was not informed about the settlement even though I was a key witness,” added the Langkawi MP.

Mahathir said he wrote to present AG Idrus Harun that he disagreed with the way the settlement was made.

“I feel that the government should not bow down since action that was taken against Apandi was done according to the process and jurisdiction of the government,” said Mahathir.

While not knowing the settlement terms between the government and Apandi, Mahathir said the people have a right to know these terms and he questioned how much compensation was made to Apandi.

“Does compensation need to be made if action is taken according to the law? Where is the rule of law? Paying huge compensation to a person who failed to perform his responsibilities well is very regrettable at any time.”

On Oct 13, 2020, Apandi filed a suit against Mahathir and the government over his alleged unlawful termination as AG during the Pakatan Harapan administration in 2018.

Through the lawsuit, Apandi sought, among others, declarations that listed defendant Mahathir had committed misfeasance or misconduct in public office, and that Mahathir had caused and/or induced a breach of contract between the plaintiff and the second defendant, namely the government.

He also sought special damages totalling RM2.23 million, general damages, exemplary and punitive damages, costs and other relief deemed fit by the court.

However, through a statement of defence filed in November 2020, Mahathir and the government insisted that the termination of the contract was valid and in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Constitution.

Under Malaysia’s constitutional monarchy system, the Agong as a general rule acts on the advice of the prime minister, on matters such as the appointment of an AG.

On April 13, the Kuala Lumpur High Court recorded a settlement and struck off Apandi’s suit against Mahathir and the government. – Malaysiakini