The first statement of the new Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali is to justify the removal of his predecessor Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail as constitutional and according to law.
Apandi said his predecessor’s rank is not reduced in any way. Are we having two Attorney-Generals in Malaysia – Apandi with all the powers and perks of the office, and Gani, enjoying all the perks but not the powers of Attorney-General?
Apandi said Article 145(6) of the Federal Constitution requiring the setting up of a tribunal for the dismissal of the Attorney-General in the like manner for the removal of a Federal Court judge does not apply, relying fully on Article 145(5) that states that the Attorney-General holds office at the pleasure of the Yang di Pertuan Agong.
I will leave it to the lawyers to address nettlesome question whether Gani’s sudden and summary sacking as Attorney-General on Monday is constitutional or not.
However, in an era when the Government knows best is over, which Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had fully acknowledged when he became Prime Minister more than six years ago, Malaysians are entitled to a full explanation why Gani had been treated so shabbily and humiliatingly that he had been sacked suddenly and summarily after serving for nearly 13 years as AG and will retire in two months’ time on Oct. 6 when he celebrates his 60th birthday.
Gani would not have been taken by surprise by his termination as Attorney-General on Monday if he had applied for early retirement.
Wasn’t he entitled to the basic courtesy of being informed that his tenure as Attorney-General was being terminated, if “health problems” were the real reasons for the termination?
Was Gani suffering from such serious “disability” or “incapacity” as a result of his “health problem” to cause him to under-perform or become an ineffective Attorney-General, that Gani had to be removed immediately, suddenly and summarily as Attorney-General, without extending any basic courtesy or decency to Gani, as happened on Monday?
But this does not tally with reality, for Malaysians and the world must find it odd and most extraordinary that in recent weeks, Gani seemed to be at the peak of his public life, in full command and control of his intellectual and mental prowess and resources as head of the four-agency “Special Task Force” on the 1MDB scandal and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report alleging that RM2.6 billion had been deposited into Najib’s personal bank accounts in March 2013 just before the 13th General Election.
In fact, despite the cloud of public suspicion and distrust that the “special task force” comprising Bank Negara Malaysia, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Royal Malaysian Police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers – as they are agencies which are junior and subordinate to the Prime Minister who is finally the subject of the investigations – could carry out any independent and professional investigations, Gani and the “special task force” were beginning to produce some results with the freezing of bank accounts and arrest of various personalities involved.
Is it because Gani, as head of the “special task force” into the 1MDB and WSJ allegations was getting “hyper-active” rather than any “disability” or
“incapacity” which warranted the humiliating episode on Monday where the Prime Minister could not wait for another two months for Gani to retire mandatorily on reaching his 60th birthday, sacking him suddenly and summarily by replacing him with 65-year-old Apandi.
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.
Can Apandi allow Gani to answer this question or will Apandi himself answer it?
Apandi has created AG history in more than one sense, including being the oldest AG to be appointed, as all his predecessors were at the prime of their careers whether Gani, Ainum Mohd Saaid, Mohtar Abdullah, Abu Talib Othman, Hamzah Abu Samah or Abdul Kadir Yusuf.
It is very sad and tragic to see the pathethic condition where the first law officer of the land, who should be in the forefront to protect the basic constitutional rights of all citizens, himself become a victim of injustice, and incapable of himself standing up for justice for himself.
Will Apandi, as the new Attorney-General, stand up and fight for justice for his predecessor, Tan Sri Gani Patail?
In fact, I want to ask Apandi as the new Attorney-General whether he is going to be Najib’s hatchet man to usher a new dark age subjecting national institutions to a second wave of attacks or whether will he be the nation’s sentinel to ensure an “enlightened and democratic” Malaysia?
Firstly, let him state whether he would charge and prosecute the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak for corruption or any offence in the land if investigations unearth adequate evidence for such prosecution .
Former Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has said in a leaked video that the Prime Minister had admitted that RM2.6 billion had been deposited into his private bank accounts.
Would Apandi as Attorney-General ensure that there would be fullest follow-up in investigations into the issue of the RM2.6 billion deposited into Najib’s personal private accounts in AmBank before the 13th General Election, and also where the monies came from and where they went to, whether the monies were used for the 13th General Elections, and the political parties, Ministers, Deputy Ministers and candidates who had received funding from Najib’s personal accounts?
In this connection, what is the position of the multi-agency “Special Task Force” on the 1MDB and WSJ allegations, whether Gani is allowed to continue to head the “Special Task Force” or whether he has taken off this assignment as he is suffering from grave “disability” and “incapacity” because of his health problems; and if so, who is now the head of this “Special Task Force”?
Is the “Special Task Force” still in existence as it seemed to have suddenly gone into hibernation.
I have been intrigued by Malaysiakini report yesterday that the five independent oversight panels of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in a joint statement said there should be no interference or pressure on the special task force investigating 1MBD.
It said: “The task force must be given the widest possible latitude to conduct the investigation without fear or favour.
“In this matter, we strongly feel it is highly pertinent to ensure the integrity of MACC as an independent anti-corruption commission is maintained and not compromised.”
Will all the members of five MACC oversight panels collectively resign in protest if there is any interference or pressure with such independent investigations into the 1MDB, as in the arrest of officers from anyone of the four agencies constituting the “special task force”?
The authorities must be aware that in the past few days, rumours mills have been working overtime to cast a pall in the country, that the sacking of the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin and Rural and Regional Development Minister, Datuk Shafie Apdal was just earnest for a “hurricane” in Malaysia, equivalent to Ops Lallang 15 and the powers-that-be are on the verge of a crackdown against a so-called ring of 13 conspirators in an international plot to “criminalise” Najib Razak and topple the elected Prime Minister of Malaysia.
This so-called “Ring of 13 Conspirators” have been named, as people who will be charged under Section 124 of the Penal Code on offences related to “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy” which could send persons convicted to up to 20 years in jail.
Among the “13 Conspirators” named involved top personnel from three of the four agencies constituting the Special Task Force – four from Bank Negara, three from MACC, one from the Task Force, two from the world of journalism and a Member of Parliament.
Section 124 of the Penal Code was enacted by Parliament in 2012 to deal with terrorism and but it seems to have become a favourite weapon to deal with whistleblowers.
This is why I asked whether Apandi as the new Attorney-General is going to be Najib’s hatchet man to usher a new dark age subjecting national institutions to a second wave of attacks or will he be sentinel to ensure an “enlightened and democratic” Malaysia.
We are in very dangerous times.
(Media Conference Statement in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, 30th July 2015)