Attorney-General should go on leave until cleared

Posted on January 17, 2011

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Media Statement

I refer to the recent controversy over the Attorney-General’s ‘representations’ to the commissioners and advisory panel members of MACC.
For the AG to take the unprecedented step of formally explaining unproven allegations to the MACC indicates that the allegations are serious and the AG is concerned.

This however does not  absolve the MACC and the relevant law enforcement authorities from ensuring that thorough investigations are made as the allegations concern the top law officer of the land. It is most absurd for any party to conclude on the basis of the AG’s representations that the AG had been cleared and the MACC is satisfied with the AG’s explanations. Indeed the panel members are not empowered to do so. Furthermore, confidential representations should not be publicly divulged especially when the matter is yet to be investigated.

Were this the case, why do the law enforcement agencies need weeks and months, indeed, sometimes years to investigate allegations of malpractice and corruption? Did Teoh Beng Hock or others implicated in corrupt practices or abuse of power have such opportunities to make representations to the MACC or Police and thereby declared innocent? Justice must apply equally irregardless of one’s station in life and justice must not only be done, but be seen to be done!

If at all the AG wishes to explain himself, he should explain openly to the Malaysian public.

To uphold the integrity and independence of MACC, it is imperative that the MACC dissociates itself from such statements exonerating the AG. Indeed, the panel member who made the statement should consider resigning his appointment as his statement had since been disowned by a majority of the advisory panel chaired by him – a clear vote of no-confidence!

To enable the MACC to make a thorough and unbiased investigation, the AG should be directed to go on leave henceforth until the investigation is completed and he is exonerated, not by one advisory panel chairman but by the full Commission. Until and unless this is done, the public’s confidence in the independence and professionalism of the MACC may be jeopardised.

Richard Y W Yeoh
Councillor, Petaling Jaya City Council & Member of Audit & Governance Committee