KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 — As the government’s top legal adviser, the Attorney General (AG) has a duty to remain impartial at all times, former office-bearer Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman said.
Abu Talib was weighing in on the criticism against incumbent AG Tan Sri Idrus Harun in the current controversy surrounding the revocation of the Emergency Ordinances (EO).
He said Idrus must uphold the rule of confidentiality in his role and not reveal correspondents between the government and Istana Negara, even if he pressed into providing information by certain quarters under the pretence of seeking an explanation, Malay daily Utusan Malaysia reported today.
“The AG is subject to the rule of law, and also has to maintain what happened between the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the government as a secret as these are official matters. So it is unreasonable for him to be exposing the discussions held between both sides.
“Besides that, an impartial approach must be taken by the AG when upholding the law including issues that require him to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong,” Abu Talib was quoted as saying.
He added that anyone unhappy with the proclamation of Emergency or its accompanying EOs have the right to take the matter up with the Federal Court to obtain their interpretation.
“There is no one that can stop the matter from being brought to the Federal Court. Whether it (the revocation) was wrong or not, a decision (by the court) can then be made,” he was quoted saying.
Utusan Malaysia also reported another former AG Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail saying it would beunreasonable for anyone to assume that Idrus was partial towards the government concerning matters surrounding the renovation of the EOs.
“(We) cannot just put all the blame on the AG. Someone who is appointed knows what they are doing.
“It all depends on whether the advice of the AG is followed or not once he has expressed his views,” Abdul Gani was quoted saying.
The palace issued a statement last week conveying Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah’s disappointment with the government’s announcement in Parliament revoking six EOs on July 21 before they were tabled and debated as he had previously decreed.
The King clarified that he had yet to assent to the revocation, plunging Parliament into a tumult as Opposition MPs questioned the government on the quiet revocation.