Apandi Ali has exceeded powers as Attorney General, says DAP’s Kit Siang

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Media Statement by DAP Parliamentary Leader and MP for Gelang Patah Lim Kit Siang in Gelang Patah on Wednesday, 28th June 2017:

Apandi has exceeded his powers and  jurisdiction  as Attorney General and usurped the powers of the Cabinet, in particular the Foreign Minister, when he pronounced the US DOJ kleptocratic  action as “politically motivated”

Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, has exceeded his powers and  jurisdiction as Attorney-General  and usurped the powers of the Cabinet and in particular the Foreign Minister  when he pronounced in Kota Bahru yesterday that  the US Department of Justice (DOJ)’s largest kleptocratic actions to forfeit US$1.7 billon 1MDB-linked assets out of US$4.5 billion 1MDB money-laundering activities through American banks and financial system  as “politically motivated”.

The decision whether the United States, or any other country, had been “politically motivated” in taking action, whether legal or of otherwise,  which are prejudicial to the national interests should be made by the Cabinet and not by the Attorney-General.

It is for the Attorney-General to submit such a case to the Cabinet but it is for the Cabinet to decide and act on whether the US DOJ action is “politically motivated”.

Otherwise we have   “the tail wagging the dog”  phenomenon, with the Attorney-General yesterday setting and announcing  the agenda that the US DOJ action is “politically motivated”, which is to be endorsed and acted upon by the Cabinet at its meeting today.

In our system of government, it is the AG who is  answerable to the Cabinet and not the Cabinet which is answerable and beholden to the AG!

Of course, everybody knows that  the AG would not unilaterally act in this fashion to usurp the powers of the Cabinet if he did not have the “green light” from the Prime Minister himself, but this does not in any way justify the AG usurping the powers and functions of the Cabinet.

Apandi is behaving as the most “political” Attorney-General in the nation’s history, even more “political” than Tan Sir Kadir Yusuf who as the Attorney-General in the early Merdeka years, was a member of  the Cabinet.

Apandi is under intense pressure recently  as a result of various developments, starting with the updated US DOJ kleptocratic  suits on June 15; the interview of  the former Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Zeti Aktar Aziz who clearly appointed an accusing finger at Apandi;  the handing over to the US DOJ investigators by American actor Leonardo diCaprio and Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr of their multi-million US dollar gifts from Jho Low purchased from stolen 1MDB funds; and the charging of the Brazilian President Michel Temer for corruption by the Brazilian Attorney-General Rodrigo Janot,  becoming the first Brazilian sitting head of state to be formally charged with a crime.

But these extraordinary pressures cannot be reasons or excuses for Apandi to usurp the powers and functions of the Cabinet.

Apandi should heed the  advice and views of his longest-serving predecessor Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, who served as Attorney-General from 1980 to 1993, on the law on the DOJ anti-money laundering actions.

Abu Talib said the US DOJ need not consult Malaysian authorities about the 1MDB case as investigations are confined to its jurisdiction.

He said the US was concerned about the use of its financial system to purchase assets allegedly using laundered money.

“The question of getting in touch with the Malaysian attorney-general does not arise,” Abu Talib said in response to Apandi’s complaint that the DOJ did not refer to his office about the 1MDB case.

Abu Talib said the DOJ was not investigating individuals or activities in Malaysia but their action only concerns using their financial system to acquire assets from funds which were deemed to be illegally acquired.

Is this exposition of the law of anti-money-laundering by the former Attorney-General too difficult and too deep for the present Attorney-General to understand or to grasp?

It is public knowledge that Apandi had refused to co-operate when the Swiss Attorney-General who sought co-operation from him in the Swiss investigations into the international 1MDB money-laundering scam.

Singapore, Switzerland and Luxembourg are among countries whose financial and legal regulators and enforcers have taken action against banks and bankers for their complicity in the international 1MDB money-laundering scam.

Is Apandi suggesting that Singapore, Switzerland, Luxembourg are among the countries, together with United States, which are involved in an international  political conspiracy to topple the Najib government?

It is pertinent to ask which United States political party or political personalities Apandi and those making such an allegation are referring to?

Whether the Democrats or Republicans in the United States? Whether it is former President Barack Obama when the first DOJ kleptocratic suits were filed in July 2016 or the present President

Trump when the second and third series of kleptocratic suits were filed this month – and how this  tallies with Najib’s former claim as a favourite golf buddy of Obama or the present claim as Trump’s “favourite Prime Minister”?

Finally, is the Cabinet today  going to lend a façade of endorsement to the Attorney-General’s allegation of “political motivation” in the DOJ suits by  initiating   protests and other actions against the US Government and the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur?

Today is the last chance for  the Cabinet to redeem itself to prove that it is not a Cabinet of kleptocracy but a Cabinet of loyal and patriotic Malaysians who care deeply about the nations’ good name and standing in the international community.  

It should do so by answering  who is “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” and “wife of MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1”, as well as to  commission a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the 1MDB scandal to clear or cleanse Malaysia’s ignominy and infamy of being regarded worldwide as a “global kleptocracy”.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of theedgemarkets.com/The Edge group.