KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 — Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail’s termination as Attorney-General (AG) was in line with the Federal Constitution, his successor Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali said today after the Malaysian Bar criticised Gani’s removal as unconstitutional.

Apandi also said that his predecessor’s rank was not reduced in any way and cited several provisions from the Federal Constitution to support the government decision for a replacement.

“Clause (6) of Article 145 of the Federal Constitution does not apply as it is a savings provision which only applied to the incumbent Attorney-General at the material time when the amended Article 145 came into force,” the former Federal Court judge said in a statement.

“This is clearly stated in Clause (6) of Article 145. The Attorney General at the time was Cecil M. Sheridan who served as Attorney General from 1959 to 1963,” he added.

Article 145(6) reads in full: “The person holding the office of Attorney General immediately prior to the coming into operation of this Article shall continue to hold the office on terms and conditions not less favourable than those applicable to him immediately before such coming into operation and shall not be removed from office except on the like grounds and in the like manner as a judge of the Federal Court”.

Apandi noted that Article 145(5) states that the AG holds office during the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“Hence the mode of removal referred to in Clause (6) of Article 145 of the Federal Constitution is not applicable to Attorneys General appointed after 16 September 1963,” he said.

Apandi also insisted that Gani’s removal, which was announced yesterday, did not violate Article 135 of the Federal Constitution on restrictions on dismissal and reduction in rank of public servants, after the Malaysian Bar said that the termination appeared to contravene Article 135(5) that mandates reasonable opportunity to be heard.

“This is because Clause (4)(b) of Article 132 of the Federal Constitution expressly provides that Part X of the Federal Constitution, which includes Article 135, does not apply to the office of the Attorney General. In any case, Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail has neither been dismissed from nor reduced in rank in the Judicial and Legal Service,” he said.

The Chief Secretary to the Government announced yesterday that Gani was terminated as AG effective July 27 due to health reasons, but he will continue to serve as a judicial and legal services officer until October 6 this year, when he reaches his compulsory retirement age.

The removal of Gani, who had been leading a multi-agency investigation on corruption allegations involving 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, happened on the same day as Najib’s announcement of a Cabinet reshuffle that saw other 1MDB critics dropped from government, notably his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal. - Malay Mail, 29/7/2015