Termination of Mohamed Apandi as AG valid, lawful – Dr Mahathir, government

by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA

FORMER prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Federal government have insisted that their action in terminating the contract of Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali (picture) as Attorney-General (AG) in 2018 was valid as well as in accordance with the provisions of the law and requested the court to dismiss Mohamed Apandi’s suit against them.

In a statement of defence filed yesterday (Nov 12), both the defendants stated that there was no abuse of power by the first defendant, Dr Mahathir, regarding the termination of Mohamed Apandi as AG and the termination of his contract as a legal officer.

Dr Mahathir and the Federal government filed the statement of defence, which was signed by the Senior Federal Counsel from the Attorney General’s Chambers, in response to a RM2.2 million suit filed against them by Mohamed Apandi.

The defendants said that the claim by Mohamed Apandi, the plaintiff, was without merit and a misrepresentation of the law.

“Furthermore, there is nothing in the plaintiff’s pleading that constitutes the latter being given exemplary and/or punitive damages,” said the defendants.

Dr Mahathir and the Federal government also denied every statement contained in the plaintiff’s statement of claim, saying that in any case, the plaintiff was not entitled to the reliefs applied for.

“We humbly ask that the plaintiff’s claims be dismissed with costs,” they said.

The case was brought up for online case management before High Court deputy registrar Norhatini Abd Hamid today.

Lawyer Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu, representing Mohamed Apandi, when contacted said that the court had set Dec 3 for case management for the plaintiff to file an answer to the defendants’ statement of defence.

On Oct 13, Mohamed Apandi filed a lawsuit naming Dr Mahathir and the government, as the first and second defendants respectively, seeking among others for a declaration that his termination from his position as AG two years ago was unlawful.

In his statement of claim, Mohamed Apandi, who was a Federal Court judge before being appointed as AG in 2015, is also seeking a declaration that the first defendant had committed a misfeasance and misconduct in public office and a declaration that the first defendant had caused and induced the breach of contract between him and the government.

He also wants a declaration that there was a failure of compliance with Article 145 of the Federal Constitution over his termination and a declaration that his termination as AG was not in accordance with law and hence unlawful.

Mohamed Apandi is seeking special damages in the sum of RM2,233,599.36, general damages, exemplary and/or punitive damages, costs and other reliefs deemed fit by the court.

In his statement of claim, Mohamed Apandi said through a letter dated July 27, 2015 by the Chief Secretary to the Government, the plaintiff was informed that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had consented to his appointment as AG with effect from July 27, 2015 until July 26, 2018.

The former AG claimed that on April 6, 2018, the Chief Secretary to the Government had notified him that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had on March 30, 2018 consented to his appointment being extended for another three years with effect from July 27, 2018 and it would expire on July 26, 2021.

Mohamed Apandi further claimed that Dr Mahathir, who was appointed as Prime Minister on May 10, 2018, started issuing statements calling into question the professional integrity of the plaintiff.

“The first defendant then instructed the Chief Secretary to the second defendant to convey the first defendant’s instruction for the plaintiff to take unrecorded leave for a period of 30 days from May 14, 2018 until June 14, 2018,” he said.

The former AG claimed that the instruction given by Dr Mahathir was an unlawful one and contended that under Article 145(5) of the Federal Constitution that he, at all material time, shall hold office at the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Mohamed Apandi further claimed that  Dr Mahathir made biased statements against him personally and the office of the Attorney-General, proposed the replacement of the plaintiff before the proper termination by the lawful authority who is the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, refused, failed and neglected to receive advice from the AGC and requested or caused to be used by third parties, including his own personal lawyer, to pressure the plaintiff to immediately resign from the office.