Pressure grows to sack Apandi, lawyers say it’s straightforward

Apandi Ali was forced to go on leave after he refused to resign. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Pressure is growing on the government to sack Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali and appoint a replacement without delay, amid a shocking revelation made by a blogger about a simmering protest within Pakatan Harapan over the choice of the new AG based on ethnic and religious grounds.

Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) said there should be no further delay in terminating Apandi’s services, who has been forced to go leave after he refused to vacate the post.

LFL said Apandi could be removed “whenever the PM advises the King to do so”.

“There is no requirement for a tribunal to remove the AG, neither is there a need for an enquiry in order to terminate his services,” said lawyer N Surendran on behalf of the group.

“Apandi has no legal recourse when his services are terminated; he must go. The best thing he can do now is to quit honourably, before he is ignobly forced out,” it said.

The call comes in the wake of a posting by controversial blogger Syed Akbar Ali who recently wrote of a storm brewing within Pakatan Harapan over the choice of a non-Muslim AG to replace Apandi.

Syed Akbar, known to be close to Mahathir, said the prime minister had named an Indian Christian candidate for the post, but drew protests from “another party” who he said had also objected to Lim Guan Eng’s appointment as finance minister.

“If this rumour I heard is true, then over the next few days this ‘impasse’ will most likely come out into the open. There is going to be a crisis,” he wrote.

LFL said there should also not be questions of not getting the palace’s consent to remove Apandi.

It said while the Agong may exercise his limited discretion on matters such as the appointment of the prime minister and Parliament’s dissolution, he must abide by the government’s advice on the appointment of other posts including the AG.

“Constitutionally and legally, it is entirely up to the Prime Minister of the new administration elected by the people, to pick the appropriate person to be AG,” said Surendran.

Echoing the view, prominent lawyer and activist Art Harun listed three matters on which the Agong has almost absolute discretion.

He said except for the appointment of prime minister and menteri besar, dissolution of Parliament, and calling a Conference of Rulers’ meeting, all other decisions by the Agong must be based on the advice of the government.

“That means in exercising all their other powers and carrying out their functions, they have no discretion whatsoever and they have no choice but to follow the advice given by the prime minister or the menteri besar, as the case may be,” said Art.

Meanwhile, Surendran warned that the continued absence of an AG would disrupt critical reforms that Malaysians had looked forward to, as well as to bring those responsible behind the 1MDB scandal to book.

“As things stand, Malaysia has no functioning AG. This situation cannot be allowed to continue,” he said.