AGC advises govt, not other way around, Ramkarpal tells solicitor-general

(Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: DAP’s Ramkarpal Singh has taken Solicitor-General III Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria to task over his statement that the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), as part of the federal government machinery, receives “direction and instruction” from Putrajaya.

Calling this a “serious and disgraceful error” on Hanafiah’s part, the Bukit Gelugor MP said the attorney-general is meant to be independent and prosecute according to evidence.

“It is elementary that the AGC advises the government and not the other way around.

“It reflects his ignorance of the fact that the AGC is, and was always meant to be, free from government instructions as he is, and will always be, supposed to be impartial,” he said in a statement.

Hanafiah, in calling for a speedy prosecution of the graft cases involving state investment fund 1MDB and its former unit SRC International Bhd, had said it was his duty as solicitor-general in charge of prosecution to inform the deputy public prosecutors of the government’s directive to expedite cases linked to the former administration.

“I wish to explain here that the AGC is part of the machinery of the federal government and being part of it, we receive direction and instruction from the government.

“The AGC will always adhere to the government’s directive and instruction so long as they are lawful and not against the Federal Constitution or any written law,” he said in a statement.

However, Ramkarpal, who is also a lawyer, said the attorney-general is never directed, whether by the government or otherwise.

“He should resign if he doesn’t understand this, if not removed.

“We need independent people on the job, not those who receive instructions from the government,” he said.