Bar urges Agong to appoint the new AG

Malaysian Bar president George Varughese says the Agong must end the impasse over the AG without any delay.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Bar today called on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to fulfil his constitutional duty to appoint a new attorney-general (AG) on the advice of the prime minister, and end the impasse which began three weeks ago when current AG Mohamed Apandi Ali went on unrecorded leave.

Bar president George Varughese said Article 145(1) of the Federal Constitution states: “The Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall, on the advice of the prime minister, appoint a person who is qualified to be a judge of the Federal Court to be the attorney-general for the federation.”

“As a constitutional monarch, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has a constitutional duty to abide by the Federal Constitution, which clearly stipulates that His Majesty must act on the advice of the prime minister.

“The Yang di-Pertuan Agong must therefore appoint the person, as per the advice of the prime minister, as the new AG, and end the impasse without delay,” he said in a statement.

Apandi has been on unrecorded leave since May 15, with Solicitor-General Engku Nor Faizah Engku Atek taking over his duties as AG.

He faces pressure over his job, following clear signals from Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad that he will not be retained.

Apandi was frequently mentioned by Mahathir during his election campaign tour, and accused of a cover-up in the 1MDB saga.

The former judge, who in 2015 said there was no case against Najib Razak in the wake of allegations of billions of ringgit transferred into the former Umno president’s private bank account, had his contract renewed in April for another three years.

But following Pakatan Harapan’s shock victory in the May 9 polls, Mahathir said Apandi would be investigated for his role in the aborted investigations into 1MDB.

Varughese said the Agong’s exercise of his constitutional duties in appointing a new AG should not be stifled by “extraneous views that take into consideration any criteria that are without constitutional basis, based on irrelevant considerations, or which could be deemed to be arbitrary or discriminatory”.

Adding that the Bar was “alarmed and deeply troubled” at the impasse which had arisen over the past few weeks, he said the Agong must perform the role of a constitutional monarch “strictly in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Constitution”.

“The AG has a vital role to play as the principal legal adviser to the government and the public prosecutor, and it is therefore imperative that a new AG be appointed without further delay.”

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