In a statement today, Mahathir expressed regret over Putrajaya’s decision to arrive at a settlement last month in the RM2.23 million suit filed by Apandi against Mahathir and the government for wrongful termination.
Mahathir maintains that the government followed due process in terminating Apandi’s contract as the country’s chief legal advisor.
“At that time, I felt that he could not act independently as he had been an Umno lawyer for a long time. He was unlikely to act fairly in the investigation into 1MDB and the misconduct of (former prime minister) Najib Abdul Razak. Moreover, Apandi said Najib was not guilty because there was no case even before any investigation was carried out,” he said.
Not informed of settlement
“I plead not guilty and am prepared for Apandi’s claims to be tried in court,” said Mahathir.
“I was shocked to read the news about the out-of-court settlement being made between the government and Apandi recently. I was not informed about the settlement even though I was a key witness,” added the Langkawi MP.
Mahathir said he wrote to present AG Idrus Harun that he disagreed with the way the settlement was made.
“I feel that the government should not bow down since action that was taken against Apandi was done according to the process and jurisdiction of the government,” said Mahathir.
While not knowing the settlement terms between the government and Apandi, Mahathir said the people have a right to know these terms and he questioned how much compensation was made to Apandi.
“Does compensation need to be made if action is taken according to the law? Where is the rule of law? Paying huge compensation to a person who failed to perform his responsibilities well is very regrettable at any time.”
On Oct 13, 2020, Apandi filed a suit against Mahathir and the government over his alleged unlawful termination as AG during the Pakatan Harapan administration in 2018.
Through the lawsuit, Apandi sought, among others, declarations that listed defendant Mahathir had committed misfeasance or misconduct in public office, and that Mahathir had caused and/or induced a breach of contract between the plaintiff and the second defendant, namely the government.
He also sought special damages totalling RM2.23 million, general damages, exemplary and punitive damages, costs and other relief deemed fit by the court.
However, through a statement of defence filed in November 2020, Mahathir and the government insisted that the termination of the contract was valid and in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Constitution.
Under Malaysia’s constitutional monarchy system, the Agong as a general rule acts on the advice of the prime minister, on matters such as the appointment of an AG.
On April 13, the Kuala Lumpur High Court recorded a settlement and struck off Apandi’s suit against Mahathir and the government. MKINI
Make public terms of settlement with Apandi, Dr Mahathir tells Putrajaya
“I was shocked when I read that the government had reached an out-of-court settlement with Apandi, while the terms were kept secret,” he said in a Facebook post.
“The government should not bow down to Apandi given that his termination was done in accordance with the power vested in the government.
“Settling with an individual who failed to do his duties is regrettable,” he wrote in the post.
The Langkawi PM added that Apandi was terminated for his inability to be objective, especially when it came to investigations against former prime minister Najib Razak.
“There is no way he could have acted objectively, given that he was Umno’s lawyer for a long time.
“He would not have acted fairly in the 1MDB investigations and in the judgment of Najib’s wrongdoings.”
Apandi had filed the suit in September 2020, seeking a declaration that the termination of his services as attorney-general in 2018 by Dr Mahathir was unlawful.
He asked for RM2,233,599.36 in special, punitive and general damages, to be assessed by the court.
However, on April 13, Apandi’s counsel Baljit Singh Sidhu said Putrajaya had reached an amicable settlement on the former’s lawsuit over his termination in 2018.
Baljit said that a consent judgment on the settlement was recorded before High Court judge Akhtar Tahir.
“Without prejudice, the government agreed to settle the action without admission of liability. The terms of the settlement remain confidential,” Baljit told the media.
“The case was struck off without liberty to file afresh and with no order as to costs.”
Baljit also confirmed that the suit was settled as Apandi’s claim was filed against both the government and Dr Mahathir Mohamad in his capacity as the then prime minister.
Apandi, who was a former judge, was appointed attorney-general on July 27, 2015. His contract was to have ended on July 26, 2018.
He said the chief secretary to the government had informed him through a letter before the 14th general election that his tenure would be extended by three years.
However, in a letter dated June 5, 2018, the chief secretary informed him that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had consented to the termination of his services but did not furnish any document on the royal approval.
The government, in its defence, said Dr Mahathir did not play any role in the termination of Apandi’s services.
It said any decision to terminate Apandi’s contract was carried out according to the law. TMI
MKINI / THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT