KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — G25 took offence today to being labelled “has-beens” by Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali in a recent interview with a local news portal, saying it was unnecessarily offensive of the country’s top lawyer to make such a remark.
In a statement, the group of Malay retired high-ranking civil servants said Mohamed Apandi was under the “delusion” that just because they no longer served the government, they could no longer contribute constructive ideas on good governance.
“With respect to the learned Attorney-General we consider it arrogant, crude and unnecessarily offensive for him to have referred to us as ‘have-beens’,” G25 said.
The group was referring to an article published yesterday by The Malaysian Insider where Mohamed Apandi reportedly took a swipe at G25 for questioning the powers and functions of the AG’s office.
According to the news portal, G25 had previously said it was poor governance to have the AG as the government’s legal adviser as well as the final arbiter on prosecution decisions.
“G25 consists of those have-been government servants, isn’t it? Have-beens. And the person who normally gives statements is one lady by the name of Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin,” Mohamed Apandi reportedly said of G25’s spokesman, according to an excerpt of the interview published on the news site.
“When you ask me that, I’ll answer that with one question. Go back and ask Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin, when you were in the government service, i.e. the AGC (Attorney-General’s Chambers), who was the public prosecutor and A-G? Same person, isn’t it? That has been true since Merdeka. Why didn’t you make noise then?” he continued.
But G25 told Mohamed Apandi that the comments on the AG’s role and another suggestion that the office of “director of public prosecutions” be created to better streamline the AG’s duties, had not been issued by Noor Farida alone but collectively by its members.
“Thus it is unfair and uncalled for the Attorney-General to have singled out Datuk Noor Farida in his criticism of our press statement,” the group said.
G25 also said it was inaccurate for Mohamed Apandi to suggest that the role of the AG in other Commonwealth nations were the same.
“With respect, surely the learned Attorney-General cannot be ignorant of the legal developments that had taken place in developed Commonwealth countries,” it said, naming countries like England and Wales, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as some examples.
In these countries, the AGs have either by statute or by convention ceased to exercise powers of prosecution, with such powers being vested in the “director of public prosecutions” who works independently of the AG, the group said.
“In some jurisdictions, the role of the Attorney-General regarding prosecutions, if at all, has become merely supervisory in nature,” G25 continued.