Zaid: PM should explain AG’s ‘disrespectful’ behaviour towards king

However, the former law minister refrains from lending his voice to the call for Idrus Harun’s removal.

Attorney-General Idrus Harun disrespected the Yang di-Pertuan Agong with his public statement on reconvening Parliament, according to former de facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim.

However, he refrained from lending his voice to the call for Idrus’ removal but rather wanted the latter’s superior, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, to explain the AG’s behaviour.

“The statement was disrespectful and showed a lack of respect to the dignity of the monarch, whom the AG also advises on the law.

“I will not pitch it as a breach of confidentiality but rather as being disrespectful to the king. The advice given to the king and prime minister should be private.

“There is no need to give a media statement unless the PM was desperately looking for support. The AG should not be tempted to take sides openly. That is not his role.

“I will not go so far as to say he should be sacked but his boss, the PM, should be asked to explain the AG’s behaviour,” Zaid (above) told Malaysiakini.

Zaid was responding to the Pakatan Harapan presidential council which called for Idrus’ removal after accusing him of committing treason with his public statement.

Castigating the AG for making a statement that it is up to the cabinet to decide when Parliament can be convened and that the king’s discretion is not applicable in this case, the council argued that it was a breach of confidentiality between a lawyer and a client.

The council said the AG has a constitutional duty under Article 145(2) of the Federal Constitution to advise the Agong and cabinet on legal matters.

However, it stressed this should be done directly to the king.

“(Idrus) should not have announced his views to the public. His statement was a breach of confidentiality between a lawyer and a client.

“With the breach, he is not qualified to be a lawyer, what more the attorney-general. His statement was treasonous towards the Agong and he should be immediately dismissed,” it added.

Yesterday, Idrus’ predecessor Tommy Thomas expressed disappointment with the council’s stand, stating that the AG should not be sacked because certain quarters disagreed with his legal opinion.

“The law is not black and white on this matter. There are many grey areas.

“These are difficult and complex areas of constitutional law. We are entering uncharted waters. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. You have to agree to disagree. That is the law.

“It must be stressed that legal opinions are not intended to be popular nor designed to curry favour,” he told Malaysiakini.

Parliament had been suspended since Jan 11 following the declaration of a state of emergency, ostensibly to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

On June 15, Muhyiddin said Parliament would reconvene when the nation enters Phase Three of the National Recovery Plan in September or October, when there is an average of less than 2,000 Covid-19 cases daily, sufficient ICU capacity and up to 40 percent of the population fully vaccinated.

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun and Dewan Negara President Rais Yatim, on the other hand, have proposed an August-September timeline.

MALAYSIAKINI

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