‘Just because a lawyer was appointed by the AG doesn’t mean they must share the same view.’

Apologise over ‘shameful’ tribunal for ex-EC commissioners, lawyer tells AG

Khafir_Pendatang: It is common for a company’s head of legal affairs or general counsel to appoint external lawyers for certain cases, and it is also common for the general counsel to have differences in views with the external lawyers.

Similarly, M Puravelan is not part of the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC); he is an external lawyer appointed by the AGC for this advisory role.

Puravelan was appointed by attorney-general Tommy Thomas to advise the tribunal. Note that Puravelan’s role is only to advise. The tribunal can take the advice if it chooses to, or it can consider that advice together with other views, such as Thomas’ view.

Just because Puravelan was appointed by Thomas does not mean they must share the same view. It is normal for lawyers to disagree on a point of law, even among lawyers in the same firm.

Ultimately, the tribunal is the decision-maker and they will make their decision based on the advice and views of Puravelan and Thomas.

So clearly there is no issue, let alone a constitutional crisis. Let’s not use the term “constitutional crisis” just because a lawyer appointed by the AG has a different view from him.

Kim Quek: Lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla’s attack on the attorney-general sounds like mumbo-jumbo to me.

First, it is the height of absurdity to suggest that a “constitutional crisis” has arisen simply because the lawyer appointed to assist the tribunal, Puravelan, had conflicting views with the attorney-general.

Second, Haniff held Thomas responsible for this disagreement and demanded an apology from him, but shouldn’t Puravelan have told Thomas much earlier that he thought there was no need for this tribunal?

Third, Haniff blamed Thomas for not having advised the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to reject the commissioners’ resignation, but our Federal Constitution only grants the commissioners the option to resign at any time by writing to the Agong under Article 114(3) without providing the commensurate option for the Agong to reject such resignations.

Aren’t the people entitled to know the full facts relating to the 13 serious charges against the commissioners, and shouldn’t the culprits be taken to task to uphold our electoral integrity?

And isn’t the proposed tribunal the natural choice of forum where truth is revealed, and remedies applied?

P Pillai: A question was raised and adequately answered by the attorney-general.

I see no constitutional crisis. The attorney-general advises the prime minister, but the prime minister is not obligated to accept the former’s advice unless he is convinced it is correct.

The prime minister agreed to the appointment of the tribunal and sought the Agong’s consent. Everything has been done legally and constitutionally.

Sin Lee Huang: It’s ‘academic’ because its impact cannot be undone and, going forward, the effect on the public is virtually none because they are no longer in their post.

I believe the chairperson is simply trying to address the issue head-on and to establish why the tribunal is needed.

The attorney-general had to answer it within the legal context, and he answered it adequately by saying there is the issue of our future financial commitment to them.

Ace: Regardless of whether it’s academic or not, the tribunal and its deliberations must go on. If found guilty of illegal or improper conduct, they must be punished to whatever extent that the law allows.

Such a course of action will also act as a serious reminder to future commissioners that they should not attempt to thwart or modify the will of the voting public!

Anonymous #007: Tommy Thomas is a respected lawyer who knows what he is doing. He has rightly said, the gravity of the charges (which I personally believe amount to treason) demands that the perpetrators be investigated and charged accordingly.

Can you imagine, if all corrupt blokes simply resign when they believe they will be charged for stealing or misusing taxpayers’ monies to benefit themselves, their family and friends, and/or their political parties, to avoid conviction?

Yes, the laws are worded as clearly as possible, but it is up to learned judges to interpret them in the best interest of the parties involved.

For example, a contract is legally binding when signed between two people voluntarily. However, if one party demands an erroneous price for an item and the buyer subsequently refuses to pay, an honest, learned judge would never enforce the contract because it is deemed grossly unfair.

The judge is there not only to uphold the law, but also justice where the law is lacking. However, under the previous administration, many Malaysian judges have been shown to be lacking in the upholding of justice.

Fortunately, we now have Thomas, and hopefully he can turn our judiciary into a respected institution soon.

Shovelnose: That’s what some lawyers are good for – making excuses based purely on technicalities.

Individuals will always have differences of opinion. Let’s argue it out.

The atrocities committed by the previous set of commissioners must be investigated. If wrongs took place, they should be prosecuted, and not just let bygones be bygones.

Otherwise, people will commit crimes such as these in future for material gain or political favours without repercussions.

Ravinder: If this tribunal is academic, why prosecute a prime minister who has been ousted from his position? It does not make sense.

So, a civil servant can “sapu” (sweep) as much as possible and resign just before the law catches up with him and he can enjoy all that he had embezzled?

Or a civil servant can approve the plans of a sub-standard building which collapses and he cannot be held accountable just because he has retired?

Which law says such things?