New M'sian Bar president: AG should explain why charges against Doan not dropped

KUALA LUMPUR: The Attorney General (AG) should explain why murder charges against Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong were not dropped, says newly minted Malaysian Bar president Datuk Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor (pic).

Abdul Fareed, who was elected on Saturday (March 16), said while the AG was not obliged to give an explanation, it would be better that he did as the case was a high-profile one.

“The discretion to charge or not to charge a person lies with the AG. That has been done on many occasions.

“(However) the acquittal of the Indonesian Siti Aisyah was done after the prosecution and defence were called,” he said, adding that this was not usual.

He also said it was not usual for two individuals to be charged with the same crime but for one person to have his or her charges dropped.

“This case has attracted international attention, so there are a lot of questions about why one person is acquitted and the charges against her withdrawn while the other person remains charged,” said Abdul Fareed at a press conference during the Malaysian Bar’s 73rd AGM at Wisma MCA Saturday (March 16).

The man he replaces as president, George Varughese, had also earlier said it was the AG’s prerogative to drop charges while adding that it would be good for an explanation to be furnished.

All charges against Indonesian Siti Aisyah in connection with the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half brother Kim Jong-nam were recently dropped.

Meanwhile, touching on the matter of replacing the Certificate of Legal Practice (CLP) with the Common Bar course, Abdul Fareed said a consultative meeting had been held in January this year.

Other consultative meetings on the matter were expected to take place over time, he added.

The 73rd Malaysian Bar AGM, which was attended by 835 members, saw five resolutions passed. Two of resolutions passed related to the abolition and repeal of repressive laws in the country.

The Malaysian Bar resolved to urge the government to abolish draconian laws such as the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015, Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 and the Sedition Act 1948.

It also called for a Royal Commission Inquiry into the allegations of judicial misconduct made by appellate judge Datuk Dr Hamid Sultan Abu Backer to immediately commence.

In addition, it urged the government to make public the report by the Institutional Reforms Committee that was submitted in July last year. 

Other newly elected office bearers of the Malaysia Bar are vice-president Roger Chan, secretary Salim Bashir Bhaskaran and treasurer Surindar Singh.

Salim is acting as lawyer for Doan.

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