Steven Thiru: Bid to make AG head of Bar a desperate bid to silence lawyers

KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 — A lawmaker’s suggestion for the Attorney General to automatically head the Malaysian Bar was a blatant move to quell its criticisms, president Steven Thiru said today.

He also said Silam MP Datuk Datu Nasrun Datu Mansur, who made the suggestion in Parliament yesterday, was irresponsible for seeking to subvert the Bar’s mandate to uphold the rule of law and justice, for political capital.

“Further, the proposal that the Attorney General be automatically appointed as the President of the Malaysian Bar appears to be an undisguised attempt to curtail the independence of the Malaysian Bar, and would be perceived as a desperate measure to silence the Bar,” he said in a statement today.

Steven added that the Bar will vigorously defend against any such attempt to put it under the control of the Executive or curtail its independence.

He also explained that it would be illogical for the AG to be made the president of the Malaysian Bar, as both positions serve disparate and opposed purposes.

“The suggestion to fuse the two positions is without basis, and therefore perverse. It reveals a remarkable ignorance of the distinctive and separate roles of the Attorney General and the President of the Malaysian Bar,” he concluded.

Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri said Putrajaya will consider Datu Nasrun’s proposal, but said the matter needed in-depth study and legal amendments.

The Barisan Nasional MP had accused the Bar Council of being political over the adoption of a motion calling for AG Tan Sri Mohd Apandi Ali to resign over his decisions in cases involving state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), former 1MDB unit SRC International, and the transfer of RM2.6 billion into the prime minister’s personal accounts.

The three lawyers who proposed the motion are now being investigated for sedition.

Aside from the motion adopted during its recent annual general meeting, the Malaysian Bar also filed for a judicial review on the AG’s decision to clear the prime minister in the cases of SRC International and the RM2.6 billion deposited in the latter’s accounts ahead of Election 2013.

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