Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin accepts that it is the Prime Minister’s prerogative to sack the Deputy Prime Minister and to remove any Minister from the Cabinet.
It is for the court of public opinion and history to judge whether the Prime Minister had made a colossal political blunder or had made a brilliant political move.
But has the Prime Minister the prerogative to sack the Attorney-General, the highest legal officer of the land, on his whims and fancies without regard to due process?
The answer must be a firm “No”, for Article 145(6) of the Malaysian Constitution makes it very clear that the Attorney-General “shall not be removed from office, except on the like grounds and in the like manner as a judge of the Federal Court” and Article 125(3) lays down the procedure for the removal of a Federal Court judge, which requires the equivalent of a judicial tribunal to adjudicate his removal whether on the ground of breach of the code of ethics or of inability, from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause, properly to discharge the functions of his office.
The immediate and instant sacking of Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail as Attorney-General, in the manner of the announcement yesterday morning by the Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Dr. Ali Hamsa without Gani even knowing about it beforehand is clearly unconstitutional and an affront to a country which upholds constitutionalism and the rule of law.
It is a very separate matter whether Gani wants to fight and challenge the unconstitutional manner in which he had been sacked as Attorney-General, as Gani’s acceptance (for whatever reasons) of the unconstitutional manner of his sacking as Attorney-General cannot make his termination lawful and constitutional.
Hamsa said yesterday that the Yang di Pertuan Agong had consented to the termination of Gani’s tenure as Attorney-General due to health reasons with immediate effect; if so, why was Gani totally unaware of such an important sequel of events?
Was the Yang di Pertuan Agong misled by the Prime Minister as Gani himself did not apply for termination of his tenure, as his retirement was only some two months away on 6th October?
What were the compelling reasons requiring the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to resort to the unconstitutional shot-gun termination of Gani’s tenure as Attorney-General although Gani would have retired on Oct. 6?
What were the circumstances requiring the use of Gani’s known health problem to hastily and summarily terminate Gani’s tenure as Attorney-General although Gani had not sought early retirement for health reasons, so that a new Attorney-General could be installed in a matter of a few hours?
The new Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali had admitted that he was only informed of his new appointment as Attorney-General on Sunday night which caused him to hastily submit his resignation as Federal Court judge.
This is the first time in Malaysian history that an Attorney-General had been sacked, completely in violation of constitutional provisions.
Gani may now have reasons not to challenge the constitutionality of his sacking as Attorney-General, but as a matter of principle, the Bar Council should consider whether such unconstitutional sacking of Attorney-General should be allowed to stand unchallenged.
Was the summary and unconstitutional sacking of Gani as Attorney-
General related to the sacking of Muhyiddin and Shafie Apdal for their demand for accountability on the 1MDB scandal?
Veteran newsman A Kadir Jasin has questioned whether Gani’s removal was because he was on the verge of filing charges in the 1MDB case in connection with the multi-agency “special task force” investigations into Wall Street Journal report on claims that RM2.6 billion was deposited into Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s private bank accounts.
Only Gani answer Kadir Jasin’s question. Can Malaysians expect a sincere and truthful answer from Gani – or is Gani going to take the secret with him into retirement?
All the lawyers in Cabinet also owe the country an explanation why they had been so cowardly silent about Gani’s sacking as Attorney-General when it is patently unconstitutional and an affront’s to Malaysia’s commitment to uphold the rule of law