Bar Council: Removal of Gani Patail as A-G unconstitutional

PETALING JAYA: The removal of Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail is "unconstitutional", says the Bar Council.

Malaysian Bar Council president Steven Thiru said Gani's sudden removal from his post as Attorney-General appeared to go against the Federal Constitution.

"His removal and reduction in rank are unconstitutional, inasmuch as there appears to be non-compliance with Articles 135(2) and 145(5) of the Federal Constitution, which include the requirement for reasonable opportunity to be heard.

"The position of the Attorney-General is constitutionally mandated and any removal must comply with stringent standards of due process," said Steven in a statement Tuesday.

He added that Gani's removal for health reasons was "questionable".

"It would seem unprecedented for a senior civil servant, let alone one with the rank of the Attorney-General, to be removed so close to his official retirement (on Oct 5).

"The Bar Council has frequent and direct engagement with the Attorney-General, and to the best of our knowledge, his recent health has not hindered the performance of his duties.

"The reason given for his removal is therefore questionable," said Steven.

He said that Gani's sudden removal as Attorney-General, a post which made him a key member of the special task force currently investigation 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), has led to "the perception of interference by parties with vested interests in the work of the special task force".

He said that the Government should exercise its "discretionary statutory powers" firmly under the principles of "fairness and natural justice".

"The unwarranted termination of the Attorney-General's services is in sequel to a series of administrative orders that have impeded and undermined the investigations into 1MDB.

"The latter seriously curtails fundamental rights such as the freedom of information, movement and expression.

"It would be a stark abuse of power if administrative orders were exercised in a biased manner or for ulterior purposes, including to shield wrongdoers or to conceal wrongdoing," added Steven.