MACC can challenge Apandi in court

A court ruling last year could allow the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to legally challenge attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali.

Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) legal coordinator Michelle Yesudas said a court ruling last year disputes how absolute the AG’s powers are.

“In a recent case, High Court judge Vazeer Alam ruled that the decision of the AG can be challenged if it is based on an irrelevant consideration, exercised unlawfully, or if it is an abuse of power,” Michelle told Malaysiakini.

She was citing Justice Vazeer’s ruling, in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur, in dismissing former attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail’s application to strike out the suits by former Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Ramli Yusuff and his lawyer Rosli Dahlan.

Ramli and Rosli are suing Gani, former inspector-general of police Musa Hassan and ironically, several MACC officers, for abuse of power, malfeasance in the performance of their public duty, malicious prosecution and prosecutorial misconduct, among others.

Apandi on Tuesday declared Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had not committed any offence with regard to the RM2.6 billion (US$681 million) donation and RM42 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd deposited into his personal bank accounts.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said then told the people not to question Apandi’s decision, declaring that Apandi had absolute powers to make such decisions.

However, Michelle (photo) said discretionary powers do not make an AG immune from public scrutiny.

“This alone should be a ground for reform, not a ground to prevent the general public from forming opinions about important scandals that involve our prime minister and public funds.

“(Azalina’s) statement is a low blow to free speech, democratic participation and an excuse to police the rakyat’s opinion and to deter critical thinking,” Michelle said.

Article 145(3) of the federal constitution grants the AG absolute discretionary powers on whether or not to pursue prosecution, except in syariah, native or military courts.

LFL is calling for reforms to make the AG answerable to Parliament.

The group also wants prosecutorial powers transferred to an independent office of the director of public prosecutions, in line with the practice in other Commonwealth nations. – Malaysiakini

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