Senior lawyer: Government can terminate contract of A-G
Monday, 14 May 2018
The Star

By Maizatul Nazlina

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government can terminate the contract of Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali (pic), says senior lawyer Datuk Roger Tan.

This follows after Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that Apandi has been told to take leave and that his duties will be taken up by the Solicitor-General.

The Prime Minister said although the A-G's contract has been recently renewed for another three years, the government would go through the proper process to initiate investigations against Apandi. 

According to Tan, the Government could terminate Apandi's contract before the three years, subject to the terms and conditions.

His contract was extended to 2021, by which time he will be aged 71.

He said unlike former A-G Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, Apandi was not a career officer.

Tan explained that Gani was a "legal officer" when he was said to have resigned due to "ill health".

“As Apandi is not a legal officer, the statutory procedure for removing a civil servant does not apply to him,” he said when asked to comment on Apandi’s position on Monday (May 14).

Tan said if the contract is silent on early termination, then Apandi can seek damages for wrongful and early termination.

In any event, he said, it is implied that in every contract of employment, a worker can always be summarily (immediately) dismissed on grounds of gross misconduct.

But he cannot insist on staying on, Tan added.

He said there was also no requirement for a tribunal to be set up before his services can be terminated.

The Federal Constitution had formerly stated that the A-G could only be removed “on the like grounds and in the like manner as a judge of the Federal Court”.

However, Tan said this requirement was removed by a constitutional amendment made in 1963. 

“Even though Article 145(5) of the Federal Constitution does say the A-G shall hold office during the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, this simply means he is just like a member of the public service under Article 132, whose services can be terminated by the government.

“It does not expressly say that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s consent is required before the A-G can be removed.

“If this is a requirement, then it will be expressly stated in Article 145 just like Article 43(5) that Cabinet ministers hold office during the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, unless the appointment of any minister shall have been revoked by the King on the advice of the Prime Minister,” he said.

Apandi had reported to work on Monday, the first day since Pakatan Harapan won the May 9 polls.

Dr Mahathir had previously said that the A-G had "undermined his own credibility" and indicated that several government servants would be investigated for their roles in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) saga. 
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