AG Idrus denies his office silent on MCO cases

A group of men accused of violating the movement control order is brought to the Magistrate’s Court in Teluk Intan, Perak. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Attorney-General Idrus Harun has shot back at a rights organisation which accused his office of not doing anything to ensure the fair administration of justice for those who violate the movement control order (MCO).

Idrus said Eliminating Deaths & Abuse In Custody Together, or EDICT, had made the “erroneous assumption” that there had been no directives or guidelines from him.

Attorney-General Idrus Harun.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. Guidelines and directives are regularly issued by the attorney-general to deputy public prosecutors (DPPs).

“The DPPs are also governed by a code of ethics,” said Idrus, adding that DPPs give a daily report on their cases to the head of the prosecution division as well as his deputies.

He also said prosecutors had been working closely with the police and judiciary “under novel conditions while potentially exposing themselves to the risk of infection”.

He said one of his directives was connected to the prosecution of minors, whom he said were not to be remanded except in extreme cases where this could not be avoided.

He said he had also directed DPPs to ensure that minors are treated in accordance with the Child Act.

“That said, it must be remembered that some matters, like remand and sentencing, are not powers within the purview and therefore control of the attorney-general,” he added.

“EDICT appears to have made the erroneous assumption that just because they have not sighted any directives or guidelines by the attorney-general, there must be none.

“As stated earlier, this is completely not true.”

He added that his office welcomes constructive criticism as long as it is based on facts.

EDICT had cited the case of a 20-year-old shop assistant from Kedah who was ordered to serve three months in prison for venting her anger over Covid-19 police operations on social media.

It said the chief justice and prisons department had promptly issued letters concerning cases related to the MCO, while there was no response from the AG’s Chambers.

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