There is no law prohibiting an incumbent attorney-general from being appointed as board member of a government statutory body, a retired attorney-general says.

Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman said he himself was a board member of the Employees Provident Fund and Securities Commission of Malaysia while in office.

“Nothing stops a public officer like the A-G sitting as a board member in a statutory body,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

He was asked to respond on the appointment of Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali as a board member of pilgrims’ fund Tabung Haji and of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN).

The appointments raised eyebrows as Apandi this week announced a lack of evidence to prosecute Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak over a RM2.6 billion donation from the Saudi royal family and over Finance Ministry-owned SRC International.

Apandi, a former Federal Court judge, was appointed A-G on July 28 last year, replacing Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, who was removed on medical grounds. As a judge he would have retired come February 10 when he turns 66, the mandatory retirement age for judges. As A-G, he has a three-year contract.

Abu Talib said a public officer like the A-G could also be appointed to sit on public-listed company boards provided prior approval was obtained from the government.

The question of conflict of interest did not arise, the former A-G added, provided the government’s top lawyer was not involved in any decision-making process which affected his office and his other posts.

“This is a simple rule. Do not participate in a decision that affects you and your position,” Abu Talib said.

Gani, the previous attorney-general, has also been appointed to the board of wholly owned Minister of Finance Incorporated subsidiary Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd.

Gani, who was retired on account of a kidney problem, told Malaysiakini he was appointed to the company “long before the investigation into 1MDB”. 

A check with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) confirmed that Gani was appointed in October 2014. 

According to the company website, Gani was listed as its chairman. – January 31, 2016.

Source from FMT News

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