Solicitor General: AGC can receive government directives as long as it complies with the Constitution


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 10 Feb 2019

PETALING JAYA: Solicitor General III Datuk Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria says that the Attorney General's Chambers, while independent, is fundamentally part of the government, and as such can receive instruction from it.

"I wish to explain here that the AGC is part of the machinery of the federal government and being part of it, we receive direction and instruction from the government," he added.

Mohamad Hanafiah said the AGC would always adhere to government directives and instructions so long as they were lawful and did not go against the Federal Constitution.

Mohamad Hanafiah was responding to criticism surrounding a leaked circular instructing DPPs not to postpone several high-profile corruption cases.

"Therefore, it is my duty, in my capacity as the Solicitor General III in charge of prosecution, to inform the DPPs (deputy public prosecutors) concerned of the directive by the government for the trial in respect of the abovementioned cases to expedite in accordance to the scheduled dates," he said in a statement on Sunday (Feb 10).

The email circular, which has gone viral, is igniting questions about the independence of the AGC.

Mohamad Hanafiah also said that this was consistent with sub-section 172B(4) of the Criminal Procedure Code, which states that any trial should commence not later than 90 days from the date of the accused being charged.

He said Attorney General Tommy Thomas was also of the view that these cases had to be settled expeditiously as the public were waiting for the trials to start.

"Hence, my email was a reminder to DPPs concerned that the cases must proceed as scheduled and that there should be no delay in conducting the cases," he said.

"Finally, I wish to state that the email is also a directive to the DPPs concerned that any application for postponement will be strictly opposed and that we will not agree to any request for postponement.

"However, we do take note that ultimately, it is for the trial judge to decide whether an adjournment is to be granted or not," he said.

Mohamad Hanafiah also questioned how the email circular was leaked.

"I am surprised that it found its way out and now within the public domain as it was only addressed to the DPPs who are handling the trial of SRC, 1MDB and other cases involving the kleptocracy government," he said.