Monday, August 29, 2022

Umno Youth defends Azalina over remarks on AG

Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki says Pakatan Harapan appointed several of its people to key government positions.

PETALING JAYA: Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki has defended party colleague Azalina Othman Said after she drew criticism over her veiled dig at the prime minister for retaining Idrus Harun as the attorney-general (AG).

Asyraf said Pakatan Harapan (PH) had also appointed its own attorney-general, Tommy Thomas, when it came to power in May 2018.

In a Facebook post, he said PH even appointed a former PKR leader, Latheefa Koya, to head the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Asyraf also pointed out that shortly after PH came into power, then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had reportedly “called in” the chief justice at the time, Mohamed Raus Sharif, for a meeting.

He said the head of the now-defunct Council of Eminent Persons (CEP), Daim Zainuddin, had met Raus and then Court of Appeal president Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin.

Raus and Zulkefli resigned from their posts on June 7, 2018.

Asyraf said DAP had lobbied for Richard Malanjun to be appointed chief justice in 2018, which was criticised by another former CJ, Abdul Hamid Mohamad.

“(Malanjun) later retired (in April 2019) and campaigned for PH and Warisan in the Sabah state election in 2020, and had even gone on stage with Lim Guan Eng for a political ceramah,” he said.

“So, do PH and Bersih still dare to call on others to respect the attorney-general’s position and the judiciary?”

On Saturday, Azalina, a former law minister, said whoever became prime minister would usually appoint “one of their own” to become the AG, a post which came with wide-ranging powers.

Idrus was appointed AG after Muhyiddin Yassin took office as the eighth prime minister.

Bersatu vice-president Radzi Jidin said Azalina’s remarks were proof that Umno and Barisan Nasional had made civil servants follow their wishes while they were in power.

Meanwhile, Bersih chairman Thomas Fann said he was puzzled and disappointed with Azalina’s remarks yesterday about appointing an attorney-general.

Fann said Azalina had apparently changed her stance from her previous position of wishing to separate the roles of the attorney-general as legal adviser to the government and his concurrent role as the public prosecutor. She had also spoken previously about not interfering with matters of the court.

DAP’s Beruas MP Ngeh Koo Ham also expressed shock over Azalina’s comments, construing it to mean that the prime minister should appoint an AG who would act according to his wishes.

Ngeh also called for Azalina to resign as the prime minister’s special adviser for law and human rights.

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