PUTRAJAYA (Jan 14): The Malaysian Bar said on Friday that it would bode well for the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) to provide reasons to the public when it decides to discontinue prosecution at any stage in cases of public interest, regardless of the personality.
At the Opening of the Legal year 2022 at the Palace of Justice here, its president AG Kalidas Krishnan in his keynote address said that while the federal constitution under article 145(3) empowers the Attorney General with "wide discretion" to conduct, institute or discontinue any proceedings for a criminal offence, this discretion is not absolute and unfettered.
"Central tenets of the rule of law — such as transparency — are building blocks which contribute to public trust and confidence.
"Thus, in cases attracting high public interest where the charge is one that strikes in the heart of faith in the administration and its governance, no matter the personality in question, those who they are associated with, or to which divide of party they belong to, it bodes well for the Attorney General or the AGC to provide reasons to the public when it decides to discontinue to prosecute at any stage," he said at the ceremony which was attended by Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun.
Kalidas said that the Attorney General needs to take a measured and perceptive approach as lack of information from the side of the AGC will only fuel unnecessary speculation among the public.
Apart from Kalidas, Idrus and Chief Justice of Malaysia Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat also addressed the attendees consisting of judges, invited VIPs and the media.
One such example of a high profile case which was discontinued was the criminal trial of former minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, who was acquitted by the Court of Appeal of receiving a bribe of RM2 million from Aset Kayamas Sdn Bhd director Tan Sri Chai Kin Kong.
In a majority 2-1 decision, the court ruled that the money was a political donation for the two by-elections of Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar in 2016, when Tengku Adnan was the federal territories minister.
The prosecution, led by the AGC, filed a notice of appeal last year, which was, however, withdrawn by the AGC.
Idrus has kept mum over the issue despite calls from opposition politicians and Kalidas himself leading the call for explanations from the Attorney General.