The Most Despised A-G in Malaysia’s Legal History

Of Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail, the aura of invulnerability that has congealed around him resembles that which surrounded J Edgar Hoover, legendary director of the FBI in the US, whose capacity to ferret secrets and devious deployment of them against detractors made him a feared operator in the corridors of power.

Hoover was indispensable to five US Presidents before a sixth, faced with a decision to cashier him on his reaching the mandatory retirement age, played safe by extending tenure.

Lyndon Johnson’s reason for his decision enjoys an imperishable niche in a compendium of salty putdowns: “It is better to have him (Hoover) inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in.”

For a long time now, the powers that reside in Abdul Gani’s position as legal adviser to the government, combined with his powerful role as the last word on who to prosecute and on what grounds, has been the object of public unease and criticism from legal and other circles.

Detractors have clamoured for a bifurcation between the roles of government legal adviser and crown prosecutor, arguing that their entwining engenders bias: an adviser to the government on legal matters would not be able to enjoy the requisite detachment from government’s interests required of the person when deciding who to prosecute.Tomorrow, the House is expected to vote on whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over internal deliberative documents related to Operation Fast and Furious. Last week, the attorney general — who has testified on this matter on nine separate occasions and has provided more than 7,600 … Read more  comments|click here Reply 


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