No high-powered plot to remove A-G, says senior lawyer

(MM) – Prominent lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah today denied claims that there was a high-powered conspiracy to remove Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail (picture) from office.

He rubbished the allegation, made in a statutory declaration (SD) by former Kuala Lumpur CID chief Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim, saying that there was “no reason” for such a thing to happen.

“Irrespective of what was contained in the SD, there was no such thing as a plot or conspiracy against the A-G, because there was no reason to do that,” he told journalists when doorstopped here.

“Either on the issue of the black eye incident or the issue of the Batu Puteh case, there is absolutely no reason for that. If you look at Batu Puteh, what has that got to do with Mat Zain? He is a police officer. He’s not an international lawyer, so why should anybody discuss with him on that issue?” Shafee added.

Mat Zain was last week cited by news portal Malaysiakini saying he was part of a dinner meeting with former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, Shafee and former Commercial Crimes Investigation Department chief Datuk Ramli Yusoff last August 10.

Mat Zain, in his SD, claimed that the meeting discussed the A-G’s poor handling of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s black eye incident, which happened when the latter was being questioned by police on charges of corruption and sodomy in 1998.

Also allegedly discussed was Malaysia’s loss of Pulau Batu Puteh, also known as Pedra Branca, to Singapore at the International Court of Justice.

The new portal reported that the SD stated that Shafee informed Mat Zain of Mahathir’s displeasure with Gani, who lead Malaysia’s legal team in the case, for allegedly concealing some vital facts.

Shafee today did not confirm or deny that the meeting took place, but he did admit that he was at Dr Mahathir’s residence on August 10.

“August 10 is three days after Hari Raya, and Dr M’s open house was the very next day. I was present as is usually the case every year with Dr M to pay my respects,” he said.

Shafee hinted that those named by Mat Zain as part of the dinner meeting were at Dr Mahathir’s house “having muruku and everything else”, but again declined to delve further into the former top-cop’s allegations.

“What I can say is that Tun is certainly not involved in all this rubbish,” he said, referring to Dr Mahathir.

“As for the context of the SD, I do not want to comment now because I do not know what Mat Zain said. If I can get a copy of the SD today, I will definitely call for a press conference tomorrow at noon and you can ask me whatever you want,” he said.