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Sunday, February 28, 2016

MP: ‘Absurd’ to suggest Muhyiddin-Gani coup against Najib



It is ‘absurd’ to accuse former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin and former attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail of attempting a coup, said lawyer N Surendran.
He said a coup is defined as an illegal seizure of power, but Gani has powers vested in him under the federal constitution to institute criminal charges.
“To put it another way, properly carrying out duties provided under the constitution, can never amount to an illegal seizure of power or coup,” he said in a statement today.
“The attorney-general is in fact obliged to inform the deputy prime minister as the second-ranking official in government, should there be any evidence of wrongdoing by any prime minister.
“This is because any action to be potentially taken against a sitting PM would impact upon the day-to-day running of the government. Hence, the deputy prime minister cannot be kept in the dark,” he added.
The Padang Serai MP was responding to a statement by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Azalina Othman Said yesterday, in which the latter claimed that Muhyiddin's admission of a briefing with Gani is tantamout to proof of an attempted coup against Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
Muhyiddin had claimed that when both he and Gani were in office, Gani had briefed him regarding the evidence about the funds channelled from the state-owned SRC International into Najib’s personal bank accounts, and a crime had apparently been committed.
Azalina said the briefing would have taken place in May last year before a Special Task Force investigating the prime minister was formed, and before the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) interviewed Najib, which proves there is a high-level conspiracy against Najib.
The current attorney-general, Mohamed Apandi Ali, had cleared Najib of any wrongdoing, saying that the prime minister was not aware of the RM42 million deposited into his accounts.
As for Gani, he has declined to comment on Muhyiddin’s claims.
Meanwhile, Surendran also argued that a breach of the Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA) does not arise in the supposed briefing between Muhyiddin and Gani, contrary to Azalina’s claims.
In addition to being entitled to be briefed on matters involving official secrets by virtue of being the deputy prime minister, Surendran pointed out that not all government documents are official secrets.
“Documents that fall under official secrets are defined in the schedule to the OSA 1972. These include cabinet and state exco papers, documents on national security, defence and international relations.
“Documents pertaining to any charge being drawn up by the attorney-general are not an official secret,” he said.
Section 2 of the OSA stipulates that in addition to the scheduled documents, any material classified by a minister, menteri besar, chief minister, or an officer appointed by them, is also considered an official secret. -Mkini

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