Apandi to go on leave, Solicitor General to assume AG's role, PM says

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PUTRAJAYA (May 14): Attorney General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali has been told to go on leave and his duties will be taken over by Solicitor General Datuk Engku Nor Faizah Engku Atek.

At a press conference today, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the arrangement was due to the recent renewal of Apandi's contract.

"He (Apandi) has just been given [a] new contract, [his] suspension needed a few procedures, that's why we [have] given him a holiday. We don't have a formal report against him yet. Based on formal report, investigation can only be carried out," he said.

Therefore, Mahathir said the Pardon Board meeting to release PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will be attended by Nor Faizah instead of Mohamed Apandi.

Mahathir also said he has informed all Government Ministries that no documents can be burnt or taken out, and that the travel ban is not limited to just former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, but also "several" more government officers, whose names he could not reveal.

Asked if the new government would review Budget 2018 presented by Najib last year, Mahathir said he has instructed the Ministry of Finance to determine the priority.

"Our hope is to reduce the expenditure of the government," he said, but assured that the downsizing of the government from Najib's administration would not result in higher unemployment.

Mahathir also said he will terminate positions like the Ministers in Prime Minister Department.

"All old policies will be reviewed. For civil servants (who are affected), we will not terminate them, we will find a way for them to continue working, but maybe in other different agencies.

“In downsizing the government, some functions we can move to the private sector, the private sector will absorb these workers, just like Telekom Malaysia Bhd," he said.

Mahathir also briefed the press about the work he has done earlier today, when he met Deputy Prime Minister designate Datuk Seri Wan Azizah, who recommended 10 names from PKR to be appointed into the Cabinet.

"They’ve given 10 names, first three names were for the 10 Ministries to form the core Cabinet, and the others were meant for the 15 other ministries. I have also received three names from Parti Amanah Negara President Mohamad Sabu. The decision will be made by me as the Prime Minister," he said.

On DAP Secretary General Lim Guan Eng’s eligibility to be sworn in as Finance Minister due to the corruption charge against him relating to the purchase price of his residence in Penang, Mahathir said the government will follow the “rule of law" in the matter.

"Every Minister has to be cleared, if the law says he (Lim) can only be sworn in when he is cleared (from the lawsuit), then we will follow. He has been named as Finance Minister, he has not been sworn in," he said.

At the moment, Mahathir said the Ministry of Finance (MoF) reports to him.

"We have a panel that looks into the work at MoF. Some work that can be carried out, we carry out, some we have to wait for the Minister to sworn in," he said.

Mahathir also said following the resignation of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad, he will attempt to appoint a replacement tomorrow.

"Tomorrow I hope I can appoint a new MACC chief commissioner," he said.

When asked, Mahathir said he was not aware of the reason for Dzulkifli’s resignation, and said "that is his (Dzulkifli’s) choice".

Mahathir then said he has also met the Sultan of Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who was the first foreign government leader to pay a courtesy call on Mahathir since he became Malaysia’s seventh Prime Minister.

The Brunei ruler came with a large entourage and security personnel to visit Mahathir at the Perdana Leadership Foundation earlier here in Putrajaya today.

Mahathir said he also had a meeting with all the Secretaries-general of Government ministries earlier today to explain the Pakatan Harapan government’s policy and the tasks ahead.