PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has questioned the government’s decision to classify the terms and conditions governing the settlement of a civil suit brought against him by former attorney-general (AG) Apandi Ali.
“I am mystified by law and institutional reform minister Azalina Othman Said’s decision,” said Mahathir in a tweet today.
On Wednesday, Azalina said Apandi and the Attorney-General’s Chambers had agreed not to disclose the terms of the settlement, which had been classified as a secret under the Official Secrets Act 1972.
Mahathir said Apandi, who served as the AG during former prime minister Najib Razak’s administration, had made his demand public.
“He even specified the amount, RM2,233,599.36. Yet, the compensation from the government is a secret. Why?”
He said he wanted to know the government’s reason for classifying the settlement terms as he did not believe Apandi deserved to be compensated at all.
Azalina was responding to a written question from Ipoh Barat MP M Kula Segaran, who asked the prime minister to reveal the sum paid to Apandi pursuant to the out-of-court settlement reached.
Apandi had filed the suit in September 2020, seeking a declaration that the termination of his services as the AG by Mahathir in 2018 was unlawful. In April last year, Apandi settled his suit against the government and Mahathir.
Apandi’s lawyer, Baljit Singh Sidhu, said at that time they could not disclose the terms of the settlement.
However, Mahathir later expressed his dissatisfaction over the private terms of the settlement, saying he was “surprised” it had been kept away from the public eye.
Apandi, a former Federal Court judge, was appointed the AG on July 27, 2015. His contract was to have ended on July 26, 2018.
He said that before the 14th general election (GE14) in May 2018, then chief secretary Ali Hamsa had informed him in a letter his tenure would be extended by three years.
However, in a subsequent letter dated June 5, 2018, Ali had informed him the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had consented to the termination although no supporting document was given to show the royal approval.
The government, in its defence, said Mahathir did not play any role in the termination of Apandi’s services and that the termination of the contract was carried out according to the law.
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