Ex-AG: Bar’s ‘no confidence’ vote against Idrus Harun unprecedented

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A former attorney-general (AG) has described Wednesday’s “no confidence” vote by members of the legal profession against the current holder of the office, Idrus Harun, as “unprecedented in the nation’s history”.

“As far as I can recall, no organisation ever took that position against a serving attorney-general,” said Abu Talib Othman, who was the attorney-general between 1980 and 1993.

He went on to describe Idrus as “a clean and an obedient servant”.

Abu Talib, 85, declined to elaborate further.

FMT has also reached out to Idrus for his comments.

The Malaysian Bar passed the motion of no confidence against Idrus at its extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Wednesday.

The motion submitted for voting read that the Bar had no confidence in the AG for his “abject failure to defend the judiciary from attacks and to uphold the rule of law”.

In its motion, the lawyers cited alleged attacks against Court of Appeal judge Nazlan Ghazali, the trial judge for former prime minister Najib Razak’s SRC International case.

Idrus is a former solicitor-general before he was made a Court of Appeal judge in 2014.

He resigned as a Federal Court judge and took up the appointment as AG soon after Muhyiddin Yassin was named prime minister on March 1, 2020.

Idrus’ tenure, which was to end earlier this year, was recently extended for six months until Sept 2.

Article 145(1) of the Federal Constitution states that the AG is appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the prime minister.

The constitution also provides that he is to double up as the public prosecutor.

The Bar also admonished the conduct of law and institutional reform minister Azalina Othman Said, which the lawyers said undermined the judiciary’s independence.

Last month, Azalina said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s probe on Nazlan concluded that he had violated the Judges’ Code of Ethics and had a conflict of interest when presiding over the SRC case.

In a letter dated March 20 to Najib’s solicitors, Shafee & Co, Azalina confirmed that Nazlan, who presided over Najib’s SRC trial in the High Court, had breached the code and had a conflict of interest.

She said this was based on a report of MACC’s findings dated Feb 20, which the agency extended to her.

On April 20, FMT reported that 175 lawyers petitioned to convene an EGM of the Bar to debate a motion condemning “scurrilous attacks” on the judiciary’s independence and “upholding the rule of law”. – FMT