Attorney General Tan Sri Apandi Ali should exercise his prosecutorial powers “fairly, independently and impartially”, and not place himself in a position of conflict of interest, Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru said.
In a statement, Steven said it is not the role of the Attorney General to speak for or defend any public official “in respect of any allegation of misconduct or criminal wrongdoing committed in the public official’s private or personal capacity.”
Steven said that the AG would be overstepping and confusing his constitutional duties if he defends a public official.
“He is disqualified — and must therefore recuse himself immediately — from exercising his prosecutorial powers as Public Prosecutor under Article 145(3) should there be any further recommendation for prosecution over these allegations, because he would not be seen as a neutral decision–maker,” he added.
He also expressed concern regarding Apandi’s “final warning” to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to stop commenting on the corruption charges the latter is facing.
Steven added that it is “unseemly” for an AG, as a public prosecutor, to threaten public disclosure of evidence against an individual when the evidence is yet to be produced in court.
Apandi had threatened to publicly reveal evidence against Lim if the latter did not stop commenting on corruption charges that have been brought against him.
“Such conduct by the prosecution is to be deplored as it would encourage trial by media, and would compromise the integrity of the criminal proceedings. It would be viewed as an attempt to incriminate an accused person on unproven evidence, which would lead to prejudice and thwart a fair and just trial,” Steven said.
He said that if a prosecutor is not happy with public statements made by an accused, he can raise the matter with the courts for an order to be made.
Source –Malay Mail Online-