By Vice-President Dato Simon Lim Seng Chai On The AG's Decision to Drop Charges Against Lim Guan Eng
Tuesday, September 04, 2018
The Attorney-General's Chambers should publicly state the reasons for withdrawing corruption charges against former Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng yesterday. While it is not customary for the Chambers to explain its prosecutorial decisions, this should be done in the spirit of transparency espoused by the new Federal government. This is especially so for high profile cases.

The need for answers is more pressing considering that the case had been in court for over two years now, and the decision to withdraw charges was made a few months after the new government took over. It is also troubling to note that the MACC, which is the principal law enforcement agency leading the investigation, had expressed shock over the decision, which was unilaterally made by the Chambers. Rightfully, the AG's Chambers and the MACC should be on the same page. 

In England and Wales, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is compelled to provide in writing reasons for terminating proceedings. Further, the CPS must consult with the law enforcement agencies like the police, before deciding to terminate court proceedings. The Malaysian AG's Chambers should look into adopting such a model to enhance transparency and good governance, which CENBET promotes.

In this respect, it is time to revive the proposal to grant prosecution powers to the MACC and expedite the process of making the agency answerable to Parliament. 

An AG who surreptitiously instructed his DPP to stop prosecuting a senior leader in the same government which had also appointed the AG, in the middle of an ongoing trial would have raised eyebrows in any developed nations. Tommy Thomas owes the public an explanation. 

Failure by the AG to give a satisfactory explanation will only fuel public suspicion and lend credence to the notion of political interference, which the new administration can do without. The AG should urgently clear the air over this.

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