Malaysians across the country are baffled over why in April last year the government chose to settle Apandi Ali’s suit for compensation over his dismissal as the attorney general.
What was the need to treat it as confidential under the Official Secrets Act 1972?
Would the disclosure of the terms of settlement have posed any security threat to the nation? Would it have exposed the country to any national dangers if the details of the settlement were to be revealed?
Before Apandi was dismissed, surely the government would have sought advice from legal sources and luminaries. Tell us, who was consulted and did the advice support his dismissal without consequences? Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was Prime Minister at the time of his dismissal, would have only acted based on that advice; he wouldn’t have acted arbitrarily.
Was Apandi indispensable when he was dismissed?
Didn’t Apandi, with all his knowledge of the law and backed by it, clear former Prime Minister Najib Razak of any criminal breach of trust – only for Najib to be subsequently prosecuted under a different attorney general? Najib was found guilty. He is in the process of seeking a review of the Federal Court decision.
If Apandi’s suit had been allowed to proceed in court, was his case so clear of victory that the government buckled in April last year? Whatever persuaded the government to back down and settle the case out of court, wasn’t that apparent when he was dismissed?
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Would that mean that the government wasn’t guided by competent advisers? Does it mean we no longer have legal personalities in government service to provide sound advice?
Coming back to the case of secrecy, it would have cost the taxpayers a hefty sum of RM2,233,599.36. Was Apandi’s claim of this huge sum justified? Did he receive this sum, or was it reduced to a lesser amount when it was settled? We have a right to know in the name of transparency and accountability.
There was no justification whatsoever for the government not to go public over this settlement. Since it was taxpayers’ money that went into this settlement, Malaysians have every right to be informed.
If the money had come from the pockets of the civil servants who brokered this settlement, then we have no quarrel over its confidentiality. If private money was paid for Apandi’s compensation, they can lock up the terms of settlement and throw away the key. But this was not the case.
Malaysians demand to know how much was paid to Apandi as settlement. The government must disclose the entire terms of settlement, including the amount and be prepared to be sued by Apandi.
Let’s go to court and let the court decide whether the settlement sum was a fair one for the loss of service of three years that Apandi was denied by Mahathir. This is an issue that must be addressed openly and transparently. It is the duty of the government to do so!
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