Lawyer: Govt can terminate A-G’s contract
Tuesday, 15 May 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government can terminate Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali’s contract sooner than the three years granted to him but subject to the terms in his contract, says senior lawyer Datuk Roger Tan.

He said unlike former A-G Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, Apandi is not a civil servant.

“Gani was a ‘legal officer’ when he was said to have ‘resigned’ due to ill health.

“As Apandi is not a legal officer, statutory procedures for removing a civil servant do not apply to him,” he said when asked to comment on Apandi’s position.

Tan said if the contract is silent on early termination, then Apandi’s remedy lies in damages for wrongful and earlier termination.

He was commenting on Prime Mi­­nister Tun Dr Mahathir Moha­mad’s announcement at a press conference yesterday that Apandi has been told to take leave and that his duties will be taken up by the Solicitor-General.

In any event, he said, it is implied in every contract of employment that an employee can always be summarily dismissed on grounds of gross misconduct.

But he cannot insist on remaining, he added.

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

He said this requirement has already been removed by the constitutional amendment made in 1963 which 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”.

“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 any of the public service under Article 132 whose services can be terminated by the Government.

“It does not expressly say that the 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 it is expressly stated in Article 43(5) that Cabinet ministers hold office on the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, unless the appointment of any minister shall have been revoked by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the ad­­vice of the Prime Minister,” he said.

Lawyer Andrew Khoo said as far as public information is available, Apandi has neither resigned nor has been dismissed.

“So, technically there is still an A-G. His functions will be assumed by the Solicitor-General while he is on leave,” he said.

He said since the position of the A-G had become highly politicised in recent times, naturally there was intense speculation about the position of the A-G, now that there is a change in government.