In unprecedented move, Apandi Ali demands compensation for dismissal as AG

Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court March 9, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court March 9, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 — Former attorney general Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali has sent a letter of demand to the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) seeking compensation for what he claimed to be his unlawful termination in 2018 from the post.

In the letter of demand dated yesterday and officially received the same day by the AGC, Apandi’s lawyers said he would sue if he does not receive an offer for compensation that is acceptable to him within seven days of the letter.

 In the letter of demand sighted by Malay Mail, Apandi’s lawyers stated that the chief secretary of the government had in a July 27, 2015 letter said that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had consented to Apandi’s appointment as attorney general with effect from the same day, with the Agong’s consent said to be given after advice from the prime minister in a letter on the same day.

Apandi’s lawyers said that he had accepted the terms of his appointment as AG as set out by the chief secretary of the government in an August 14, 2015 letter, including that his term be for a three-year tenure from July 27, 2015 to July 26, 2018, and that his appointment as AG can only be terminated under Article 145(5) of the Federal Constitution.

Under Article 145(5), it was stated among other things that the attorney general shall hold office during the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and may resign at any time.

An agreement was then executed and dated on July 27, 2015 for Apandi’s appointment as a legal officer, his lawyers said.

At the time when Apandi was first appointed, Datuk Seri Najib Razak was the prime minister heading the Barisan Nasional administration.

Apandi’s lawyers also wrote that the chief secretary of the government had in an April 6, 2018 letter notified him that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had on March 3, 2018 consented to him being reappointed as AG from July 27, 2018 onwards. His service as AG was due to have ended July 26, 2018.

Apandi’s lawyers said that Apandi had then accepted his reappointment as AG through a May 7, 2018 letter sent to the chief secretary of the government.

Although this was not stated by Apandi’s lawyers, the 14th general election was held two days later on May 9, 2018, with the Najib-led BN administration defeated by the Pakatan Harapan coalition led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that then came into federal power.

Apandi’s second term as AG was subsequently cut short, barely a month after Dr Mahathir became prime minister under the Pakatan Harapan administration.

According to Apandi’s lawyers, the chief secretary of the government had in a June 5, 2018 letter notified him that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had consented to the termination of his appointment as the attorney-general.

“Our client however was not furnished with any document evidencing the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong,” Apandi’s lawyers claimed.

On behalf of Apandi, his lawyers claimed that his termination was allegedly “orchestrated and decided” by the then prime minister whom they alleged to have unlawfully assumed the power of termination, further alleging the then prime minister to have abused his position and misconducted himself as a public officer or purportedly having committed the tort of misfeasance in public office.

Apandi’s lawyers also claimed on his behalf that the then prime minister had allegedly knowingly acted in such a manner with intent to cause or had induced a “breach of contract” between the Malaysian government and Apandi, further alleging that the then prime minister’s conduct was of a “colourable exercise of power”.

“In the premises our client categorically states that his termination is unlawful and thus null and void.

“Accordingly, as a result of the termination our client had suffered losses and damages, including but not limited to, loss of earnings, allowances and other benefits from 27.7.2018 until 26.7.2021,” his lawyers stated.

His lawyers then informed the AGC that Apandi is demanding an offer for restitution and damages acceptable to him within seven days, stating that he will otherwise have no alternative but to start legal proceedings for an appropriate remedy. The letter of demand did not state any amount for the compensation sought.

The law firm acting for Apandi in this matter is Shukor Baljit & Partners.

Dr Mahathir is no longer the prime minister, with the current prime minister now being Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who is leading the Perikatan Nasional administration.

Apandi, who was also formerly a Federal Court judge and had previously practised as a lawyer, has now resumed private practice under a law firm named after him.

During his tenure as AG, Apandi had on January 26, 2016 cleared then-PM Najib of any wrongdoing in cases linked to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), stating that he was satisfied that no criminal offence had been committed by the prime minister in the SRC International Sdn Bhd case and the deposit of over RM2 billion into Najib’s private bank accounts.

After Apandi’s service as AG was terminated in 2018, private lawyer Tan Sri Tommy Thomas was appointed as AG for a two-year term. 

Thomas subsequently stepped down from the post with the change of the government from Pakatan Harapan to Perikatan Nasional, with Federal Court judge Tan Sri Idrus Harun then appointed as the current AG for a two-year term from March 2020.

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