The Bar Council Chairman Mah Weng Kai has called on the government to give due respect to the comments and views of the Federal Court, as the apex court of the land, on Gani’s conduct as the lead prosecutor in the trial of former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim arising from the Zainur Zakaria contempt case.
It is not just the Government which must give respect and weight to the views and comments of the Federal Court, Gani himself should set the example of showing respect and weight to the views and comments of the apex court as he is going to be the chief legal officer of the government when he is appointed Attorney-General.
In fact, Gani should show the highest standards of responsibility, morality and professionalism by not taking up his appointment as new Attorney-General until he had cleared all doubts about the propriety of his appointment, so that he would not be the first Attorney-General to come into office under a cloud as well in the face of “public concern” of the 10,000-strong Malaysian Bar.
A day after the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim, had prematurely and improperly announced on November 19 that Gani had been appointed the new Attorney-General from January 1 next year, Gani publicly responded in thanking the government for the honour of being given the trust and confidence to be the new Attorney-General - although Gani knew that the Yang di Pertuan Agong had not yet been advised by the Prime Minister under Article 145(1) of the Constitution on such an appointment.
Can Gani explain why the rush to respond when he knew that what Rais had done had no constitutional basis whatsoever?
Before taking up his appointment as the new Attorney-General, Gani should meet the Bar Council and the civil society representatives to give a firm assurance that he would be fully committed to the restoration of public confidence in the fair, independent and impartial administration of justice, that there would be an end to all selective and politically-motivated prosecutions, and that he would fully co-operate with the Chief Justice of the Federal Court, Tan Sri Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah in the latter’s mission to restore public and international confidence in the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary.
My attention has been drawn to the views of local poet, Martin Jalleh (who had written the poem “The Crime of Fong Po Kuan”, which I had recited in my talk at the LSE Malaysia Club 2001-2002 at the London School of Economics and Political Science last Wednesday) who commented on the controversy over the statement by DAP national publicity bureau secretary Gobind Singh Deo endorsing the appointment of Gani as the new Attorney-General.
I fully agree with Martin, who said that Gobind’s position “appears rather flawed”, that the real issue is not whether Gobind is the son of Karpal Singh, the DAP Deputy National Chairman, but the main focus should be Gobind’s arguments in support of his stand.
Democracy flourishes in the DAP and there is room for diversity of views and opinions. Finally, what is important is whether Gobind’s views and arguments are right and in the best interests of the party and nation, and if they are, even if they are against the official party position, they will be given serious consideration. This applies not only to Gobind but to everyone inside the party.