PETALING JAYA: Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali says he is not out to get PKR youth chief Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, despite charging him three times under the Peaceful Assembly Act.
In an interview with The Malaysian Insider, Apandi said that Nik Nazmi was charged a third time to allow the Federal Court to make a final ruling on the law that requires organisers of a demonstration to provide the police with a 10-day notice.
“I want a determination by the highest court of the country, which is good for everybody,” Apandi told the news portal.
“As far as the administration of criminal justice is concerned, when the highest court so pronounces (it), it is the law. Whether you agree or disagree, (it) doesn’t make any difference.”
A “final ruling” by the Federal Court became necessary when the Court of Appeal made conflicting decisions on the PAA.
“The Federal Court, as you know, is the apex court. It will decide the final word. That’s the purpose,” he said.
When asked his opinion on the PAA, Apandi said the Federal Court had already ruled that the law was constitutionally valid, and that he believed that freedom of assembly is not absolute.
Apandi also defended the Government’s use of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma), saying that claims it was being abused to stifle criticism was based on “perception”.
“That is always the perception. When anybody, whether it is the opposition or one who criticises the government gets charged, they say they get charged because they are critics of the government.
“As far as I’m the A-G, I don’t see anybody or compartmentalise people as critics, non-critics, ordinary citizens or whatever. They’re all the same. You commit the crime, you get it.
“Anyone who commits an offence, should face the music. Khairuddin and Matthias Chang, to me, I don’t see them as critics of the Government, but I see them as offenders, as per the law,” he said.
Former Batu Kawan Umno vice-chief Khairuddin and his lawyer Chang, were charged on Oct 12 with attempting to sabotage the Malaysian economy and the country’s financial and banking system.
“In my press release, I explained one by one why we categorised that as affecting the banking and financial systems.
“That’s the reason, and it’s all according to the law,” said Apandi.
“I followed the law as I saw it. My conscience is clear. The softest pillow is a clear conscience,” he said.
In the same interview, Apandi said that he would propose to the Cabinet that the mandatory death penalty be scrapped.
He said that mandatory death sentences were a “paradox” as it robbed judges of their discretion to impose sentences on convicted criminals.
“If I had my way, I would introduce the option for the judge in cases where it involves capital punishment. Give the option to the judge either to hang him or send him to prison,” he said.
However, Apandi added that he is not calling for the abolition of capital punishment and said that Malaysia should take it “step by step”.