New Bar president hopes to keep cordial ties with AG, says lawsuit just business

By Ida Lim
George Varughese said the Malaysian Bar is set to discuss proposed resolutions to urge the Chief Justice and Court of Appeal President to turn down allegedly unconstitutional extensions of their term past their mandatory retirement age. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — The Malaysian Bar will maintain its good ties with the Attorney-General despite its existing lawsuit against him, incoming president George Varughese said today.

George explained that the Malaysian Bar had an obligation to initiate the legal action and to continue with it.

“Even before this we have already had a good working relationship with the Attorney-General; yes, we have instituted a judicial review action in respect of one of his decisions, but that is purely professional,” he told reporters here after the chairing the Bar Council’s first meeting in its new term of 2017/2018.

“We’ve had, even subsequent to that (lawsuit), many meetings with the Attorney-General and we have had a cordial relationship, and I hope to continue with that cordial relationship, if not make it better as the time goes by,” he added.

George, who was the outgoing vice-president, was today elected by Bar Council members to succeed outgoing Bar president Steven Thiru.

Last March, Steven said the Malaysian Bar had filed for judicial review at the High Court against the Attorney-General’s decision to clear the prime minister of wrongdoing over the alleged transfers of RM2.6 billion and funds from SRC International to the latter’s accounts.

Tan Sri Apandi Ali told a press conference in January 2015 that he found the prime minister did not commit any criminal offence in relation to the SRC International and RM2.6 billion cases, claiming that the RM2.6 billion was a donation from the Saudi royal family and that Najib was not aware that money had been transferred into his personal accounts from SRC International.