Press Statement

Gani Patail’s removal as AG reckless and unconstitutional

28 July 2015

Lawyers for Liberty views with extreme concern the sudden removal of Attorney General Gani Patail by the Prime Minister in a wide ranging reshuffling move that included members of his Cabinet. While it may be the PM’s prerogative to appoint and remove members of his Cabinet, the position of the AG is governed by the Federal Constitution.

Under article 145(6) of the Constitution, the AG’s security of tenure is protected and he “shall not be removed from office except on the like grounds and in the like manner as a judge of the Federal Court.”

Under article 125(3) of the Constitution, a federal court judge (and therefore the AG) can only be removed through a tribunal that is appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for breach of code of ethics, inability, infirmity of body or mind or any other cause, to properly discharge the functions of his office.

The sudden removal of Gani Patail as the AG at the whim of the PM is shocking to say the least, and can only fuel public suspicion of interference, that this was done in bad faith as he had then headed the high level task force investigating the massive 1MDB scandal that is currently engulfing the PM’s administration.

We call on the PM not to act recklessly and in contravention of the Constitution. If Gani Patail is unable to properly discharge the functions of his office, the right thing to do is to set up a tribunal in accordance with the Constitution, so that he can properly defend himself against any charges and if warranted, he can so be removed.

Released by:
Eric Paulsen
Executive Director
Lawyers for Liberty

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