By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 16.1.1990:
Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman is not entitled to the establishment of a Tribunal before he could be removed, as he could be sacked simply by a decision of the Cabinet
I have this morning sent a second letter to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, also sent by hand to the Prime Minister’s Office, informing the Prime Minister that Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman is not entitled to the establishment of a Tribunal before he could be removed.
In my letter to the Prime Minister this morning, I said that it has now come to my attention that Tan Sri Abu Talib could be sacked by a simple decision of the Cabinet.
Originally, under the Merdeka Constitution of 1957, Article 145 provided that the Attorney-General shall not be removed from office “except on the like grounds and in the like manner” as a Supreme Court Judge, i.e. by way of a Tribunal.
There had, however, been subsequent amendments to Article 145 of the Constitution to provide that the Attorney-General “shall hold office during the pleasure of the Yang di Pertuan Agong”’ except for the “person holding the office of Attorney-General” before the coming into force of the new amendment and who could only be removed through the establishment of a Tribunal.
As Tan Sri Abu Talib was appointed Attorney-General on 16th Sept. 1980, and is not excepted by the new Constitutional amendment to Article 145, he is not entitled to the establishment of a Tribunal before his removal as Attorney-General.
As I told Dr. Mahathir Mohamed in my letter, this in fact makes it easier to remove Tan Sri Abu Talib, as all that is needed is a Cabinet decision that tan Sri Abu Talib is no more fit to hold the high office of Attorney-General, and to advise the Yang di Pertuan Agong. Under Article 40 of the Constitution, the Yang di Pertuan Agong “act in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet.”
I concluded my letter to the Prime Minister by maintaining that the three grounds that I had cited in my letter yesterday for the removal of the Attorney-General because of his directive for the destruction of the Vijandran videotapes and photographs remained valid as the basic for the Cabinet decision to sack Tan Sri Abu Talib as Attorney-General.
Call to all Cabinet Ministers to conscientiously do their duty to country by taking a courageous decision to remove Tan Sri Abu Talib as Attorney-General
The whole country will be waiting for the outcome of the Cabinet meeting tomorrow, to find out whether the Ministers would do their duty by taking a courageous decision tomorrow to remove Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman as Attorney-General, because of the improper, inexcusable and unlawful destruction of the Vijandran videosteps and photographs.
It would be a great disappointment if the country should find out after tomorrow Cabinet’s meeting that the Minister dared not even discuss the AG/VIJI scandal, which has joined the long catalogue of scandals in the Mahathir administration to bring the country into national and international disrepute.
I call on all Cabinet Ministers to conscientiously do their duty to the country by taking a courageous decision to remove Tan Sri Abu Talib as Attorney-General at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow.