KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Muslim Lawyers’ Association (PPMM) has opposed Malaysian Bar Council’s proposal seeking the appointment of Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan as the next Attorney-General (AG).
The association’s president Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar said the proposal was a poor judgment on the part of the council and it would set a bad precedent, even more so as Ambiga was a former Bar president.
“The unilateral announcement by the president is uncalled for, and should not restrict the options of the prime minister in advising the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to appoint the AG pursuant to Article 145(1) of the Federal Constitution.
“Article 145(1) of the Federal Constitution states that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall, on the advice of the prime minister, appoint a person who is qualified to be a judge of the Federal Court to be the AG for the Federation.
“Is the Malaysian Bar attempting to name its own person to be the Attorney General?” he asked in a statement, today.
This, he said, may give the impression that the AG would be beholdened to the views of the Malaysian Bar.
Zainul added that it would also be against the principles of neutrality and impartiality which the Bar advocates.
Zainul added that he believes that Bar Council members were not consulted when the president, George Varughese, issued the statement.
As much as PPMM respects the vast credentials of Ambiga, he said the council was sending the wrong signals to the public and strongly opposed against such an appointment.
He said the council had no locus to name anyone as the next AG and would be more acceptable if they had instead suggested criteria’s for the candidate without mentioning names.
“As far as PPMM is concerned, no professional body or individual should make any stand in proposing names as the AG.
“Let the choice be made by the prime minister, who will then advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in accordance with the provisions stipulated in the Federal Constitution,” he said.
Varughese was reported saying that Ambiga would be independent and free from political pressure, as well as enjoying the confidence of the public and the legal fraternity.
He added that the AG was the principal legal adviser to the government thus was it was important for the prime minister to have someone who was competent regardless of race, religion and gender.