PETALING JAYA: Former Law Minister Zaid Ibrahim has congratulated Mohamed Apandi Ali on being the sole recipient of the Darjah Panglima Mangku Negara (PMN) which carries the title Tan Sri and apologised for suggesting just moments before at a public forum that he be replaced as he was not suited for the post of Attorney-General (AG).
In a blog entry today, Zaid said he had been hasty about his earlier assertions of Apandi and remarked that to be given such a recognition by the King no less, after only 10 months in office was a “fantastic achievement.”
“In football terms, they would called Apandi ‘The Special One’,” Zaid exclaimed, asking to be excused for his “ignorance” in not knowing the many great contributions of the AG to the nation.
He rationalised that he was probably left in the dark since most government affairs were classified “secret” and added, “So in a way I should not be blamed for being hasty in concluding that Apandi was not a suitable person as AG. I just did not have the right information.”
He also said he was not privy to the many considerations that the King’s Office and the Prime Minister’s Office took when handing out awards such as these, most likely because he himself could only boast of a “very basic” Datukship, given to him 15 years ago and which he suspected was only on account of him being an Umno division leader at the time.
“I don’t think I had done anything worthy of an award for people and country. It’s true that I do not have close friends who are Tan Sris,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Zaid had spoken at a forum organised by local think-tank Ideas on whether the prosecutorial powers held by the AG, should be given to someone else like a Public Prosecutor, who could act independently and decide whether criminal prosecution should be carried out on individuals regardless of who they were. – FMT
The judgements in the murder case of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu and the financial controversy of 1Malaysia Development Berhad were highlighted, with Zaid saying a short-term measure that could be implemented immediately and in the interim was the removal of Apandi Ali as AG.
He said Apandi should be replaced with someone more “independent and accountable” and added, “…the present AG is not the best person to be guardian of public interest, judging by his stand on unilateral conversion of minors to Islam, and his reasoning on religious freedom in the ‘Allah’ case.” – FMT