A-G has plenty of explaining to do: Opposition

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail at the party’s 10th national congress at Stadium Melawati in Shah Alam, on Aug 23, 2014.
Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail at the party’s 10th national congress at Stadium Melawati in Shah Alam, on Aug 23, 2014. PHOTO: THE STAR PUBLICATION

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's opposition, as expected, blasted the Attorney-General's decision yesterday to exonerate Prime Minister Najib Razak of any wrongdoing in connection with the discovery of millions of dollars in his bank account.

"This will cause people to ask whether the Attorney-General carried out his duty professionally, freely and fairly," opposition leader Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was quoted as saying by The Malaysian Insider news website.

She said Attorney-General Apandi Ali has to give an explanation to Malaysians. "The Attorney-General has a lot of convincing (to do)," added Wan Azizah, head of the opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli, in a tongue-in-cheek response, described Datuk Seri Najib as not only the "luckiest person" but also the most generous because he returned a substantial portion of the funds to the Saudi royal family.

"This can happen only in fairy tales and not in real life," he said.

His Democratic Action Party (DAP) counterpart, Mr Lim Guan Eng, also said the public would "ask whether the Attorney-General carried out his duty professionally, freely and fairly". "The whole world says (Najib) is wrong, but Malaysia says he is not," said Mr Lim, who is Penang's Chief Minister.

The DAP's parliamentary leader, Mr Lim Kit Siang, called for a review of the Attorney-General's decision, adding that this should be done by a high-level three-man committee comprising two former judges and a former attorney-general, Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman.

"The Prime Minister and Attorney-General need to know that citizens will be the judge at the next elections," said jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's Twitter post.

Amid the crescendo of criticism, two government ministers came to the Attorney-General's defence.

Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan, posting on Twitter, said the Attorney-General "never bowed to pressure".

"I congratulate the Attorney-General for his wisdom and apt interpretation of facts. Always sticking to principle and the law," he said.

Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek said: "We have to accept that no one broke the law. When you talk about logic, it's not logical. But no one broke any rules and we have to accept that."

Shannon Teoh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2016, with the headline 'A-G has plenty of explaining to do: Opposition'. Print Edition | Subscribe