Crisis in the Chambers

FMT Staff | November 23, 2011

More and more senior DPPs are throwing in the towel and the list includes Solicior-General II Mohd Yusof. Sources claim that the AG is to be blamed for this.

PUTRAJAYA: Allegations of internal politicking, nepotism and cronyism are swirling in the Attorney-General’s Chambers and fed-up deputy public prosecutors (DPPs) are tendering their letters for optional retirement.
Those interviewed by FMT agreed to voice their grievances on condition of anonymity.

These legal eagles believe that the rot is beyond repair and pin the blame on Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail himself.

According to them, it is an open secret that those loyal to Gani rise up the ranks and are given key tasks irrespective of whether they are qualified for the job or otherwise.

Those considered hostile or critical of the AG’s decisions often land in cold storage.

“The only criteria (required) is that the DPP must be close to him (Gani) and not go against his or his men’s word,” said a former senior DPP who served for nearly 30 years.

Initially, only a handful felt upset with Gani but the number has grown over the years and they are tendering their application for optional retirement.
“The AG in his capacity as the head of the department is approving the applications without the slightest of hesitation,” said another vexed DPP.

In their application, most of the DPPS cite “personal reasons” for their decision.
“It’s very difficult for them to state the actual reason since only the AG has the discretionary power whether to approve their applications or not. They will be asking for trouble if they state ‘AG’s conduct’ as being the reason,” said the DPP.

Son, daughter-in-law promoted

Quizzed on their grouses regarding Gani and his men, one DPP cited the management of the International Centre for Law and Legal Studies (ICELLS), where the AG’s son and daughter-in-law are attached to.

“Both of them have less than five years experience in the service but have already been promoted to Grades L48 and L52 respectively. In our service, there was never such a promotion exercise.

“As far as I know, it is only in Malaysia that the AG and his next-of-kin are working in the same department and same building,” he said.

He added that initially research division head K Muniandy was slated to helm ICELLS.

“Muniandy was the former deputy head of prosecution and highly respected in the legal fraternity but he was sidelined, prompting him to put in his optional retirement papers at the age of 50.

“He was the only ‘Jusa A’ Indian officer in the Chambers and probably in the entire civil service. So there must be something seriously wrong when someone of his calibre and experience chooses to quit,” he added.

For the record, besides Muniandy, other senior DPPs who have left the service are S Devanandan, Ahmad Firuz Zainal Abidin, Dr Sabirin Jaafar, Shamsul Sulaiman and Sallehuddin Saidin.

Solicitor-General II on the way out

In a related development, FMT also learned that Solicitor-General II Mohamed Yusof Zainal Abidin, 56, has also submitted his application for optional retirement.

“This is the third time he has submitted his application. When he applied the first time in 2008, former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi convinced him to stay while his second application was submitted a few months after Najib Tun Razak took over as prime minister. Najib also persuaded him to stay.

“But this time around, Yusof decided that he will not let anyone talk him out of his decision. He is frustrated with the empty promises of restoring the integrity of the AG Chambers,” said an officer.

He also disclosed that for the past three years, Yusof’s only task has been to handle Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II trial.

Other DPPs, he added, are told that Yusof’s offce is considered off limits and the latter is almost kept in “isolation” at his desk.

“Those in the Chambers are aware what is prompting senior DPPs to throw in the towel, while those who choose to remain, do so grudgingly. The country’s leadership is also aware of what is happening but no action is being taken to fix the problem.

“We fear that the situation has now come to a point of being beyond redemption,” said another former DPP.