Malaysian Bar takes AG’s decision on RM2.6b, SRC International cases to court

Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru says the legal body seeks to set aside AG Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali’s decisions on January 26, 2016, that cleared Datuk Seri Najib Razak of wrongdoing and that ordered the MACC to close the investigation papers. ― File pic
Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru says the legal body seeks to set aside AG Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali’s decisions on January 26, 2016, that cleared Datuk Seri Najib Razak of wrongdoing and that ordered the MACC to close the investigation papers. ― File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 — The Malaysian Bar has filed a judicial review at the High Court against the Attorney-General’s decision to close investigations on the transfers of RM2.6 billion and funds from SRC International to the prime minister’s accounts.

Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru said the legal body was seeking to set aside Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali’s decisions on January 26, 2016, that cleared Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak of wrongdoing in both cases and that ordered the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to close the investigation papers.

“There should be no usurpation of the judicial powers of the courts, as it is for the courts — and not the Attorney General — to decide on the innocence or guilt of a suspect in respect of any alleged crime,” Steven said in a statement today.

“The Malaysian Bar is of the view that the discretionary prosecutorial powers conferred on the Attorney General by Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution are not absolute or unfettered, and the exercise of these powers can be challenged in a judicial review action. 

“The scope and ambit of the discretionary prosecutorial powers, and whether these powers were exercised in accordance to law on the facts of any given case, should be determined by the courts,” added the head of the peninsular professional legal body.

According to Steven, the Malaysian Bar’s judicial review application also sought to disqualify the AG from making any further decisions on the matters covered by the MACC’s investigation papers, noting that Apandi had reportedly given Najib legal advice on those issues.

The Malaysian Bar also sought court orders to enable the Solicitor-General to act as the interim AG, upon Apandi’s disqualification, in relation to the MACC’s request for mutual legal assistance in order to complete its investigations on the RM2.6 billion transfer.

A court order was also sought to enable the Solicitor-General to reconsider MACC’s recommendations in its three investigation papers in deciding whether to initiate prosecutions.

Steven said the Malaysian Bar also wanted a court order to enable the MACC to continue investigations in those cases without interference.

Malay Mail Online reported earlier today that the Malaysian Bar is set to debate at its annual general meeting (AGM) Saturday a motion that calls on Apandi to quit as AG, in light of the controversies surrounding state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), former 1MDB unit SRC International, and the RM2.6 billion transfer into Najib’s personal accounts.

Apandi told a press conference last January 26 that he found the prime minister did not commit any criminal offence in relation to the SRC International and RM2.6 billion cases, claiming that the RM2.6 billion was a donation from the Saudi royal family and that Najib was not aware that money had been transferred into his personal accounts from SRC International.