A response to the Attorney-General

— G25
Malay Mail Online
November 15, 2015

NOVEMBER 15 — We, members of G25, wish to refer to the interview that the Malaysian Insider had with the Attorney-General as published in the Malaysian Insider on 14 November 2015 under the heading ‘Why the snub, Apandi asks Bar Council’.

We wish to make the following comments.

Firstly, we are perturbed to note that the Attorney-General is reported to have said —

‘G25 consists of those have-been government servants, isn’t it? Have-beens.’

With respect to the learned Attorney-General we consider it arrogant, crude and unnecessarily offensive for him to have referred to us as “Have-beens’.

Secondly, Tan Sri Apandi appears to be under the delusion that since we have retired from Government service therefore we could no longer contribute constructive ideas for the good governance of our country.

Thirdly, the recent press statement of G25 on the role of the Attorney-General as the Public Prosecutor and our proposal for the creation of the office of Director of Public Prosecutions was issued by G25 collectively as a group. It was not issued by our colleague Datuk Noor Farida, let alone issued by her in her personal capacity. Thus it is unfair and uncalled for the Attorney-General to have singled out Datuk Noor Farida in his criticism of our press statement.

Fourthly, it is not quite accurate for the Attorney-General to have said —

‘And that system has gone fine since Merdeka. And I see no reason to change that. Is this now the only country where the public prosecutor and the A-G are the same person? It’s happening all over the world. It’s a Commonwealth practice. Why didn’t she [Datuk Noor Farida] get this grand idea when she was in Eastern Europe? Why?’

With respect, surely the learned Attorney-General cannot be ignorant of the legal developments that had taken place in developed Commonwealth countries such as England and Wales, Canada, Australia and New Zealand where by statute or by convention the Attorney-General ceases to exercise the powers of prosecution; such powers being vested in the Director of Public Prosecutions, who exercises such powers independently of the Attorney-General. In some jurisdictions, the role of the Attorney-General regarding prosecutions, if at all, has become merely supervisory in nature. The purpose of these developments are essentially to enhance integrity in Government by statutorily ensuring the independence of the prosecution decision-making function from inappropriate political control, direction and influence.

In England and Wales the Attorney-General still exercises control on the prosecution of certain serious offences; but in the vast majority of cases the prosecution is carried out by the Director of Public Prosecutions independently of the Attorney-General..

In India the Attorney-General has no powers of prosecution. Such powers are vested in the respective Union/State Director of Prosecutions.

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