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Friday, March 31, 2017

Bar hopes AG will seek its feedback before penal bills are tabled

Bar Council's criminal law committee says in the past the AG’s Chambers would consult it for feedback before any penal bills were tabled in Parliament but this is not being done now.
Baljit-SidhuPETALING JAYA: The Bar Council’s criminal law committee hopes the attorney-general (AG) will allow the Bar to offer feedback on penal laws that are to be tabled in Parliament.
Committee member Baljit Sidhu said in the past the AG’s Chambers would consult the Bar on bills as it was also a key stakeholder in the administration of justice.
“This relationship has to be restored for the committee members to give their input,” he told FMT.
The relationship between the AG’s Chambers and the Bar has not been as cordial since Apandi Ali became the attorney-general.
Baljit said this in the wake of the Sexual Offences Against Children Bill 2017 being tabled in Parliament on Wednesday. This is a landmark legislation that seeks to tackle child sexual crimes.
Neither the AG nor his chamber officials had invited the Bar Council’s criminal law committee for consultation or discussion on the bill.
Baljit regretted that the Bar was also not consulted when an amendment was made to the Criminal Procedure Code.
Apandi Ali, a former Federal Court judge, was appointed the AG on July 26, 2015.
The Malaysian Bar last year filed a judicial review at the High Court against the AG’s decision to close investigations into the transfer of RM2.6 billion from SRC International to the prime minister’s accounts.
The Bar is of the view that the discretionary prosecutorial powers conferred on the AG under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution are not absolute or unfettered.
However, the High Court dismissed the suit, citing it could not question the AG’s prosecutorial powers.
The appeal will be heard in the Court of Appeal on Tuesday. -FMT

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