Decide on representations, stop asking for more time, AG told

Rosmah Mansor, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Najib Razak and Irwan Siregar Abdullah all have representations to the Attorney-General which have not been decided upon.

PETALING JAYA: A lawyer has called on the Attorney-General (AG) to make timely decisions on representations lodged by accused persons, especially those involving high-profile cases, to avoid unnecessarily delaying trials.

Rafique Rashid Ali said the AG must be seen as protecting public interest and the rule of law. Therefore, he must act expeditiously, more so when the case involves politicians.

“A delay in making decisions will make it appear that he is influenced by political considerations,” the lawyer told FMT.

Rafique referred to advice handed down by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Ibrahim during his address at the opening of the current session of the 15th Parliament last week.

In his speech, the monarch had called for all enforcement agencies to carry out their investigations quickly and efficiently, and for all cases pending in court to be disposed of expeditiously to maintain public confidence in the judiciary.

Rafique said the AG should take the King’s advice and cease instructing his DPPs to secure adjournments “while he takes his time to decide on representations”.

Lawyer A Srimurugan said such delays are unfair to the DPPs, accused persons, their counsel and the court.

“However, I see that the courts have now taken a proactive step in fixing trial or appeal hearing dates while waiting for the AG to make his decision,” he said.

The lawyers’ comments came after the prosecution was reported to have told the High Court in Rosmah Mansor’s money laundering case last week that the AG had yet to decide on representations asking that the charges be dropped.

On Friday, DPP Ahmad Akram Gharib informed Justice K Muniandy that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission was still investigating matters raised by the wife of former prime minister Najib Razak in three representations filed since May last year, claiming that the issues raised were “complex”.

In 2018, Rosmah was slapped with 12 charges of money laundering RM7.09 million and five for failing to declare her income to LHDN.

Her trial began on Aug 24 last year but stalled on Sept 6 after she filed an application to strike out the charges, claiming they were defective. The striking out application is fixed for hearing on July 4.

Meanwhile, on Jan 29, the Court of Appeal said it would hear the prosecution’s appeal against Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s acquittal in his foreign visa system corruption case on March 18 after having allowed the prosecution five adjournments to consider representations filed on the deputy prime minister’s behalf.

The prosecution is appealing Zahid’s acquittal by the Shah Alam High Court of all 40 charges brought against him without his defence being called.

In another case, former prime minister Najib Razak and ex-treasury secretary-general Irwan Serigar Abdullah – facing charges of criminal breach of trust involving payment of RM6.6 billion to the International Petroleum Investment Company – are scheduled to go on trial beginning June 4.

Both accused put in representations last year for which no decision has been made.

Najib is also scheduled to go on trial before Muniandy in September in his RM27 million SRC International money laundering case.

This comes after the prosecution told Muniandy representations filed on Najib’s behalf for the charges to be dropped have not been decided upon despite several adjournments.

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