“I sent 2 letters to AGC but received no answer” – Dr M

LANGKAWI: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad claimed that he submitted two letters witgh regards to the appointment of Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali as chairman of a special task force reviewing the Batu Puteh (Pedra Branca), Batuan Tengah (Middle Rocks) and Tubir Selatan (South Ledge) sovereignty cases

The Langkawi member of parliament said the letters sent to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) had raised concerns about Apandi’s appointment due to conflicts of interest, but he received no response.

Dr Mahathir said Apandi who is the former Attorney-General should not have led the task force and that he (Apandi) would serve better as a witness in the case.

“I have mentioned and wrote letters (about Apandi’s appointment) but there was no response. I sent the (letters) twice but still no answer. I even went to the office (AGC), thinking that maybe I will get the respond (to the letter) at the last minute.

“At the time, they (AGC) said Apandi would not be the task force chairman, and so I was ready (to cooperate). We can show the letters that were sent, which went unanswered.

“So how is this my fault (by not cooperating in the review of the issues)? If the person appointed has no conflict of interest, I will be ready to provide information and answer (questions during the witness interview session),” he said during a press conference here last night.

Yesterday, Bernama reported that Dr Mahathir decided not to continue with the witness interview session with the task force’s Sub-Committee on Tort of Misfeasance at the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) here.

It was reported that the former prime minister came to the AGC for the interview, but refused to proceed with the session and decided to leave as soon as he found out that Apandi was still its chairman.

Minister in Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar in a statement yesterday said the task force had wanted to hear and get Dr Mahathir’s opinion on the situation which occurred in 2018 when the government then decided to withdraw the application to review the case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

“Tun (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) was well aware of the appointment of the task force chairman and he could have turned down the invitation to attend the session at the AGC,” Wan Junaidi was reported saying in Bernama.

Earlier, Wan Junaidi said Apandi’s appointment to the task force should’ve been brought up earlier before the appointment is confirmed by the government.

At present, Wan Junaidi said the government can’t simply terminate Apandi without justification, since his appointment was made by cabinet ministers.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob previously said that a special task force would be set up to scrutinise and recommend options, including a review of laws, regarding the matter.

Putrajaya had, on Feb 3, 2017, filed an application to review the May 23, 2008 decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that gave Singapore sovereignty over Batu Puteh.

Apandi, who was the attorney general in 2017, said he would lead a team of review experts to the ICJ in the Netherlands.

NST

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