AG must explain dropping of public interest cases - Malaysian Bar

·2-min read
AG must explain dropping of public interest cases - Malaysian Bar
AG must explain dropping of public interest cases - Malaysian Bar

The Malaysian Bar has reiterated its call for the attorney-general (AG) to give reasons for the discontinuance of criminal cases of public interest.

Its president, AG Kalidas (above), said this is due to the public's need to know the reasons for discontinuing cases involving public confidence in administration and governance, regardless of which party the personality in question belongs to.

He said it is central to the tenet of the rule of law, involving, among others, transparency, which are building blocks to public trust and confidence.

He mentioned that this need for transparency is paramount in spite of the AG’s discretion to initiate or discontinue criminal court cases per Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution.

“Thus, in cases attracting high public interest where the charge is one that strikes at the heart of faith in the administration and its governance no matter the personality in question those who they are associated with, or to which divide or party they belong to, it bodes well for the AG or the AG’s Chambers (AGC) to provide reasons to the public when it decides to discontinue to prosecute at any stage.

“We appreciate that Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution clothes the AG with wide discretion to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceeding for a criminal offence.

“However, it is not an absolute or unfettered discretion as held by the Federal Court in (an appeal by former Asian International Arbitration Centre or AIAC director) Sundra Rajoo.

“Thus, a measured and perceptive approach is needed. Lack of information will unfortunately only lead to, and fuel, unnecessary speculations,” Kalidas said.

He was speaking during a speech at the opening of the 2022 Legal Year at the Palace of Justice, Putrajaya, this morning.

On Nov 19 last year, in a media statement representing the Malaysian Bar, Kalidas urged the AGC to explain its decision to withdraw an appeal against former federal territories minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor's acquittal in a graft case.

Kalidas said the Malaysian Bar was among others "perturbed by the AGC's purported decision to withdraw the appeal, taking into consideration the fact that the Court of Appeal’s decision was not unanimous".

On Nov 17 last year, The Edge reported it had “reliably learnt” that the prosecution had since withdrawn its appeal against Adnan’s acquittal.

In December 2020, the Kuala Lumpur High Court convicted him of accepting a RM2 million bribe in his former capacity as the federal territories minister from businessperson Chai Kin Kong, the director of property development firm Aset Kayamas Sdn Bhd.

Adnan, widely known as Ku Nan, 70, was sentenced to 12 months in jail and fined RM2 million. The Court of Appeal later quashed the conviction in a 2-1 majority decision.

Shortly after the decision, the AGC, as the prosecution, filed an appeal with the Federal Court.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting