KUALA LUMPUR: Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong maintains that the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) is part of the Federal Government and will carry out any instructions as long as it is lawful and does not go against the Federal Constitution.
He said in line with the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and taking into consideration the advice of the Prime Minister, the Solicitor-General III issued a circular via email to inform the Attorney General's Chambers that officers handling cases involving certain individuals must commence these according to the court schedule without any delays.
"The CPC also provides that a criminal case must be completed according to the trial period set by the court. Therefore, the Deputy Public Prosecutor was ordered not to apply for any postponement to the trial case except for reasons that cannot be avoided," he said in a written reply to Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam).
Dr Wee had asked the government to explain the relationship between the executive with the AGC after a circular was issued by the Solicitor-General III to officers – referring to a Cabinet meeting on
Dec 19 on the Prime Minister's instruction – not to delay criminal cases involving certain individuals.
Liew explained that the AGC is a government agency, with its main function carried out by legal officers under the judicial and law services in line with Article 132 of the Constitution.
"Although the Attorney General is the main legal advisor to the executive, but in other matters relating to criminal cases, the AG acts as the Public Prosecutor which has the power to institute, conduct, or discontinue any criminal proceedings in line with Clause 3 Article 145 of the Constitution do not receive any orders from the executive and independent," said Liew.
He said for handling criminal cases, subsection 172b(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code provides that case management process shall commence within sixty days from the date of the accused being charged in court while subsection 172B(4) of the CPC provides that the trial shall commence not later than ninety days from the date of the accused is charged.
The issue came to light after MCA central committee member Chan Quin Er was questioned for two hours by Bukit Aman and had her handphone seized on Feb 15, 2019.
Chan said she was summoned by the police after she highlighted the leaked email circular by Solicitor-General III, Datuk Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria, instructing the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) to hasten judicial hearings of high-profile cases.