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Malaysia has new AG with solicitor-general Terrirudin replacing Idrus Harun from September 6

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 — Solicitor General Datuk Ahmad Terrirudin Mohd Salleh has been appointed to be Malaysia's next attorney general from September 6, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali announced today.

In a brief statement, Mohd Zuki said Terrirudin will replace Tan Sri Idrus Harun whose contract ends on September 5.

Mohd Zuki announced that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had consented to Terrirudin’s appointment as attorney general from September 6 onwards, in line with the Federal Constitution’s Article 145(1).

Under Article 145(1), the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall, on the advice of the prime minister, appoint a person who is qualified to be a Federal Court judge to be the attorney general for Malaysia.

“The government thanks YBhg Tan Sri Idrus bin Harun on his service to the country throughout his tenure as the attorney general,” Mohd Zuki said.

Idrus was first appointed on March 6, 2020 to be attorney general for a two-year term when Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was the prime minister.

His tenure was extended in 2022 for another year when Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob was prime minister.

Idrus’ tenure was extended for another six months from March 6 this year under the administration of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, and this ends next Tuesday.

The Attorney General’s Chambers’ website states the attorney general as being the “principal legal adviser to the government”, and said his roles and responsibilities are provided for in Article 145.

Based on Article 145, the attorney general’s duties include advising the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the Cabinet or any minister on legal matters, and the attorney general also has the powers to initiate, conduct or discontinue any court proceedings for any offences.

Typically, accused persons can send in representation letters to the attorney general for purposes such as to seek the dropping of charges or to ask for alternative charges with lower penalties. The attorney general can accept or reject such representations.

Those who had sent in representation letters in high-profile trials and are awaiting a reply or decision by the attorney general include Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

On August 24, Zahid’s lawyers urged the attorney general to speed up the decision on their client’s representations or application to review all 47 charges in the Yayasan Akalbudi trial, in order to save time and costs for both the prosecution and the defence. The trial is scheduled to resume at the High Court next Monday.

Zahid had previously sent a representation letter to the attorney general in relation to the prosecution’s appeal against the High Court’s September 2022 acquittal of him of all 40 corruption charges in a trial involving a foreign visa system. The appeal has yet to be heard and is scheduled for case management next on September 18 at the Court of Appeal.

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had in August sent in a representation letter to seek for the dropping of three charges of money laundering in a yet-to-begin trial involving SRC International Sdn Bhd’s RM27 million, and had also sent a second representation the same month to seek the withdrawal of six charges of criminal breach of trust involving RM6.6 billion of government funds in a trial that has yet to begin.

Another example would be Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor who is awaiting a decision by the attorney general on her representation for her money laundering and tax evasion case involving more than RM7 million. The trial began on August 24 and is next scheduled for case management on September 7, as Rosmah will be applying to strike out all 17 charges.