AG criticised over contradictory statement in tribunal probe against ex-EC members

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 31 Jan 2019

Attorney General Tommy Thomas

PETALING JAYA: Attorney General Tommy Thomas was taken to task following a contradictory statement over the proceedings of a tribunal against six former Election Commission members.

Thomas had said that the proceedings would “not be academic” although they have already quit, adding that their resignation was a deliberate move to frustrate the tribunal set up to investigate their misconduct while in office.

Lawyer Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz, who represents four of the members, criticised Thomas, claiming that the statement was uncalled for and unethical.

This follows after lawyer M. Puravelan, who was appointed by the AG's Chambers to assist the tribunal, said on Monday (Jan 28) that its findings would be academic as the persons in question had already quit. 

“Three days later, the AG issued a media statement saying the findings would not be academic.

“If the AG is of this view, he should have personally argued before the tribunal instead of coming up with a contradictory statement,” said Mohd Khairul Azam.

He claimed that Puravelan had shown he was more knowledgeable than the AG, as it was stated in Article 114(3), 125(3), and 125(4) of the Federal Constitution, that the purpose of such a tribunal was purely aimed at terminating services.

“It defeats the purpose of setting up such a tribunal when the persons in question have already quit,” he said.

The tribunal was set up to investigate allegations of misconduct involving then EC members Tan Sri Othman Mahmood, Datuk Md Yusop Mansor, Datuk Abdul Aziz Khalidin, Datuk Sulaiman Narawi, Datuk K. Bala Singam Karupiah, and Datuk Leo Chong Cheong.

On Thomas' claim that the EC members resigned immediately after it was reported that the government had begun the process of establishing the tribunal, Mohd Khairul Azam said the dates stamped on the resignation letters “do not lie”.

He said five of the members submitted resignation letters last Aug 17 and 18, while the other submitted his on Nov 11, 2018, informing the palace of their intention to quit effective Jan 1 this year.

“The palace approved their resignations on Oct 26 and Nov 29 last year, respectively," he said.

He said five resignation letters were submitted even before the Prime Minister forwarded a Bersih 2.0 letter calling for a probe to the AG on Aug 28 last year.

“The onus was on the AG to inform the Prime Minister and the Agong that the persons in question had already quit,” Mohd Khairul Azam said, adding that the Prime Minister sought the King's consent to set up the tribunal on Nov 29 last year.

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