Malaysiakini reported yesterday that the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim, while confirming that Ainum is on a two-month leave, was “tight-lipped” on allegations that she was under investigation by the Securities Commission, where she was deputy chief executive since April 1999 before being appointed to the post of attorney-general early this year.
Malaysiakini reported that it learnt that the Securities Commission was conducting an in-house probe regarding problematic securities commission duties which were executed during Ainum’s tenure at the Securities Commission.
Ainum was also chairperson of the Securities Industry Development Centre, which is the education and training arm of the commission.
If Ainum is under investigation by the Securities Commission, the authorities concerned should be frank and forthcoming with the Malaysian people, in which case, she should resign as Attorney-General until completion of the investigation.
If she is not under Securities Commission investigation, there should be a flat denial by the authorities, as it would be most unfair to Ainum to have such a cloud over her, especially as her appointment as the first woman Attorney-General early this year was linked to her connections with the former Finance Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin, which is now out of favour with the Prime Minister.
Malaysians are also entitled to know whether on her long two-month leave, Rais is Acting Attorney-General.
Rais had been coy in declining comment on the subject, merely saying: “The Chambers is completely under my purview and my comments would be this for the moment.”
This is most unsatisfactory and unacceptable, and Rais has nothing to be coy as to whether he has become the Acting Attorney-General during Ainum’s two-month as public interest demands a clear-cut answer and accounting.
It would be most anomalous for Rais to become Acting Attorney-General, for we would then have a situation where the Attorney-General is not a political appointment but the Acting Attorney-General is a political appointment.
The Cabinet at its meeting on Wednesday should resolve this anomaly once for all, to decide whether to revert to the previous practice where the Attorney-General is a political appointment held by a Cabinet Minister who is directly responsible to Parliament for the discharge of his constitutional duties.
If Rais is not the Acting Attorney-General during the two-month leave of Ainum, then who will be carrying out the duties and powers of the Attorney-General in the interim - or will the country be operating without an Attorney-General for the next two months until the expiry of Ainum’s leave?