Mahathir should make full  use of the "window of opportunity" opened up by Rais' faux pas to commission independent opinion whether Gani's appointment as Attorney-general will undermine process to restore public confidence in the administration of justice

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): Although the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has refused publicly to comment on the swirling controversy over the proposed appointment of Datuk Abdul Gani Patail as the new Attorney-General to succeed Datuk Seri Ainum Saaid, he cannot be unaware of the fact that the country has been plunged into a new crisis of confidence in the administration of justice as a result of the premature announcement by the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim.

The Prime Minister should be aware that although there had been the instance of an Attorney-General leaving office under a public cloud, there had never yet been an instance of a new Attorney-General assuming ofice under a cloud and Malaysia should not establish such an undesirable precedent.

Mahathir should make full  use of the window of opportunity opened up by Rais' faux pas, which has highlighted the prevalent objection of the legal community, political parties, NGOs and the civil society (although Parliament and the Bar Council have been remiss in not expressing the public concern and objections to Gani's proposed appointment)to commission independent opinions as to whether Gani's appointment will undermine the process of restoring public confidence in the administration of justice, and if so, to withdraw the proposal to advise the Yang di Pertuan Agong on Gani's appointment and select a more suitable candidate.

The country should thank Rais for his faux pax to provide such a window of opportunity for the Prime Minister to reconsider the appointment of a new Attorney-General, although this was never the intention of the de facto Law Minister.

It would be a national tragedy if a new AG is appointed precipitating a new crisis of confidence, national and international, in the system of justice which the country, under the new Chief Justice, Tan Sri Dzaiddin is valiantly trying - but still without concrete and comprehensive results - to resolve the current one.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman