The case of a good Attorney-General


Zaid Ibrahim

It’s clear from his actions so far that this Attorney-General is not going to be helpful to the cause of democracy and the rule of law in this country. Some are already saying he will turn out to be a disaster. First he disbanded the special Task Force on 1MDB; to the bewilderment of most people. He certainly does not have any power to disband a lawfully created government investigative body. Looks like he has more power than the Cabinet. Then he withdrew the sedition charge against Ali Tinju. He said this was due to a lack of evidence, but if this were true then why was Ali charged in the first place? Did the AG’s Chamber’s direct the police to get more evidence or clarification before withdrawing the case? Overruling his own office’s previous decision is no small matter, and it is not something that he should do lightly.

The Attorney-General must not hide behind his “discretionary powers”. All discretions must be used and applied fairly in the interest of justice. There is no such thing as ‘absolute discretion”. Discretions are either fairly and justly applied or they are not. These discretionary powers are not meant to justify any decision that the Attorney-General makes on a whim; these decisions must be made on some reasonable basis.

Then we have the arrest of Khairuddin Abu Hassan on some ridiculous charge  of undermining the nations institutions, according to the IGP. Not satisfied with the arrest and the ban on his travel; and despite his willingness to cooperate with the Police by agreeing to give his statement to Bukit Aman, Khairuddin was remanded in custody for six days. Normally a remand application would be left to the Investigating Officer, but here a DPP from Chambers had to be brought in, and present at Dang Wangi. This is pure harassment on the part of the government, and this is only possible with the agreement of the Attorney-General.

Read more here