Monday, October 26, 2020

Apandi seeks compensation, damages over termination as AG

This comes two years after he was removed as attorney-general in May 2018.

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Mohamed Apandi Ali sent a letter of demand to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) yesterday, demanding restitution and unspecified damages for his termination as attorney-general (AG) two years ago, which he claims was unlawful.

The letter, dated Sept 30 and sent through law firm Messrs Shukor Baljit & Partners, was served to the AGC yesterday.

Apandi’s lawyer, Baljit Singh, confirmed the matter when contacted today.

In the letter, Apandi demanded that the AGC respond to his claim to restitution and unspecified damages within seven days, failing which he would commence legal proceedings for an appropriate remedy including exemplary or punitive damages as well as costs.

He also claimed that his termination was orchestrated and decided on by the prime minister at the time.

He said he was appointed as AG on July 27, 2015, with the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, for a period of three years until July 26, 2018. He also said the consent was given pursuant to the advice of the prime minister at the time in a letter dated July 27, 2015.

Apandi said the appointment could only be terminated pursuant to Article 145 (5) of the Federal Constitution.

He claimed that on April 6, 2018, the chief secretary to the government told him that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had on March 30, 2018 consented to his reappointment with effect from July 27, 2018, which he accepted through a letter dated May 7, 2018.

However, on June 5 the same year, he was notified by the chief secretary that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had consented to his termination as AG, and contended that he was never furnished with documents evidencing the royal consent.

He claimed that his termination was orchestrated and decided by the then-prime minister who had “arrogated to himself the power of termination unlawfully”.

Apandi, who was formerly a Federal Court judge, claimed that the prime minister at the time had abused his position and misconducted himself as a public officer and committed a tort of misfeasance in public office.

He further claimed that the prime minister’s conduct was with the intent of breaching the contract between the government and himself.

He added that his termination was unlawful, null and void.

As a result, he said, he suffered losses and damages including the loss of earnings, allowances and other benefits from July 27, 2018 until July 26, 2021.

In May 2018, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was prime minister at the time, was reported as saying that Apandi had been given 30 days of unrecorded leave from May 15 that year.

Apandi was appointed as AG to replace Abdul Gani Patail whose tenure was terminated due to health reasons.

In June 2018, Tommy Thomas was appointed as AG, replacing Apandi.

Thomas resigned as AG on Feb 29 this year following the fall of the Pakatan Harapan government.

Former Federal Court judge Idrus Harun was appointed as the new AG on March 6.

Apandi, when asked why he acted only two years after his termination, said he had no real reason to do so.

“But it took me two years to ponder over the possible issues involved and the narratives leading to my dismissal,” he told Bernama in a WhatsApp message.

“Just exercising my legal rights against an abuse of position and power by the former PM, Dr Mahathir, in removing me as the AG without valid reasons, after an extension of my tenure as AG was given (with the consent of the king),” he said.

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