Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Rahman Dahlan: Bar's move against A-G 'can open up floodgates'

The Malaysian Bar's attempt to initiate a judicial review on the Attorney-General will open floodgates to other problems, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said.

"Malaysian Bar asking for judicial review on AG's exercise of his clearly discretionary powers could open up the Pandora box," Rahman, who is Barisan Nasional strategic communications director, tweeted on Wednesday via @mpkotabelud.

"If judicial review of AG's decision is allowed, then it is conceivable that those being accused by the AG will also ask for it!" he wrote.

The Bar filed a suit on Monday at the Kuala Lumpur High Court against Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali over his decision to close a corruption investigation into Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The A-G and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission were named as respondents.

Rahman stressed on some facts of the case, and reiterated that the A-G's decision was consistent with Malaysia's laws.

"Now let's go specific on PM's case which Msian Bar is focusing on. The Bar should know some facts," he said.

Rahman, also Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister, explained that the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) donations and transactions were approved by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), therefore there was no way for the transactions to proceed without BNM's approvals.

"BNM approvals also meant the money was legitimate. The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) then has very little reason to press for corruption," he said.

"Political donation is legal and Umno gives its President vast discretionary powers to raise and keep the money. MACC itself has concluded the donation came from Saudi Arabia.

"Malaysian Bar must state clearly where the AG has erred because the facts above show the AG's decision was consistent with the laws," he said.

The Bar sought to review the Jan 26 decisions that no criminal offence had been committed by Najib in respect of the three investigation papers submitted by MACC.

The A-G had also instructed the MACC to close the three investigation papers.

Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru said ensuring the power of the court to decide on the innocence or guilt of a suspect should not be usurped by the A-G, and was a matter critical to public interest.

Thiru said the discretionary prosecutorial powers conferred on the A-G by Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution were not absolute or unfettered, and could be challenged via judicial review.

The review sought four court orders, including setting aside the A-G's decisions to exonerate the Prime Minister and instructing the MACC to close its three investigation papers.

It also sought to disqualify the A-G from making any further decision on matters covered by the MACC's three investigation papers.

Should the A-G be disqualified, the Bar would apply for the Solicitor-General to exercise the functions of the A-G in relation to the request by the MACC (as per the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 2002) to complete its investigations into the RM2.6bil donation.

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