KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali (pic) was in tears at the High Court here on Wednesday (April 7) when recalling his tenure as the Attorney General from 2015 to 2018, during the trial of his defamation suit against DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang over an article on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
He could not hold his emotions after responding to a question by his lawyer M. Visvanathan on the third day of the trial before Judge Datuk Azimah Omar.
Answering his lawyer’s question over a foreign news article about the scandal which was raised by Lim’s lawyers on Tuesday (April 6), Mohamed Apandi said the New York Times report appeared immediately after his (Mohamed Apandi's) press conference on Jan 26,2016.
He said that as the AG he played the dual role of legal advisor to the government and the public prosecutor, and thus did not have much time to read local or foreign newspapers.
Mohamed Apandi pointed out that as the legal advisor, his duty was not limited to the Federal Government but was also the principal legal advisor for all the states in Malaysia.
"(In) my position as public prosecutor, there are thousands of investigation papers all over the country which of course I delegated to my officers in the respective states except for high-profile cases, meaning cases involving high-profile personalities; that's how busy I was. I hardly managed to take any leave as this was not 'a walk in the park job'. It was definitely a heavy burden that has taken a toll on my health.
"I'm now subject to Institut Jantung Negara (IJN) check-ups because of the stress, ” he added.
He said he was appointed as AG at 65 and did not clock the full number of years and months to receive a full pension.
"That is the sacrifice I have made because I was given the job of AG and the post of AG is not a pensionable post. It was a contract post; there is no pension attached to me.
"Thank you for allowing me to express (myself). I've been keeping this; people condemn me. Sorry could not proceed," he said with tears running down his cheeks while his lawyers tried to calm him down.
Mohamed Apandi further said he never asked or lobbied to be the AG.
"I was functioning as federal court judge looking forward to retire when I was suddenly appointed as AG, ” he said.
The court then took a one-hour break before Mohamed Apandi continued with his testimony.
On July 5,2019, Mohamed Apandi sued Lim, claiming that on May 6,2019 Lim had written and caused to be published an article titled "Dangerous fallacy to think Malaysia’s on the road to integrity” in Malaysiakini.
He claimed that the alleged libellous words in the article implied that he was involved in crime and had abetted in the 1MDB financial scandal, was a person with no morals and integrity, was unethical and had abused his power when he was the AG.
Mohamed Apandi, who was the AG from July 27,2015 to June 4,2018, contended that the libellous words were untrue and written with the intention of tarnishing his image and credibility as a former Malaysian AG for cheap publicity.
He is seeking aggravated and exemplary damages, as well as RM10mil in general damages, an injunction to prevent Lim and/or his agents from publishing the alleged defamatory words again and other relief deemed fit by the court.
The hearing before Justice Azimah continues Thursday (April 8).- Bernama