Former Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail was called to the Malaysian Bar today as an advocate and solicitor before joining his son’s firm, Gani Patail Chambers.
Former Malaysian Bar president Christopher Leong moved the call for the 61-year-old from Lahad Datu, Sabah, who served as AG for 13 years from 2002 until his service was terminated in July 2015, ostensibly for health reasons, during the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) investigation.
“What I can say in a nutshell, and in fairly polite language, is that the petitioner was a ‘nutcracker’,” Leong said during his speech on Gani’s petition to be admitted to the High Court of Malaya in peninsular Malaysia as advocate and solicitor.
“It may come as a surprise for some to hear that the petitioner could at times come across as hard as nails, aggressive, gruff, and a tough negotiator.
“In reality, he was a consummate professional in his undertakings and in our dealings. In doing so, he can be firm, demanding and a hard counterparty with a no-nonsense approach. We at times disagreed, argued, took hard opposing positions, but always in mutual recognition of our respective roles and duties,” Leong added before High Court judge Datuk John Louis O’Hara.
He said he and Gani were adversaries but at the same time, “comrades in law”.
The former Malaysian Bar president also said Gani was “human and humane” beneath the “nutcracker” veneer, describing how on two different occasions, he had received calls informing him that two death-row inmates were scheduled to be executed early next morning.
“I called the petitioner on his mobile phone and asked for a stay of the executions,” said Leong. “The petitioner took it upon himself to act and had on the one occasion, managed to convince the Sultan, and on the other occasion, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, to grant a stay warrant at the eleventh hour”.
He said Gani had also taken a personal interest in ensuring the success of Yayasan Bantuan Guaman Kebangsaan (YBGK) when Gani was chairman of the legal aid body.
“Prior to the launch of YBGK in 2012, more than 80 per cent of impecunious persons charged in the criminal courts went unrepresented. Within a short period of time, YBGK in collaboration with the Malaysian Bar reversed those figures with 80 per cent of such persons having access to legal advice and representation,” said Leong.
He added that in the last few years, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Malaysian Bar had several collaborations on anti-corruption events and matters.
“The petitioner was a tireless, conscientious and diligent Attorney General. He clocked long hours each day,” said Leong.
“I recall that even when he was undergoing dialysis treatment at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, he would conduct meetings in the hospital and thereafter rush off to his office or to some other meeting. At other times, I would arrive at his office in Putrajaya and see a line of people waiting to see him,” he added.
He said he believed Gani to be “sufficiently physically fit and healthy”.
According to Leong, Gani did his pupillage under former Malaysian Bar president Ragunath Kesavan.
Leong told Malay Mail Online that Gani will join Gani Patail Chambers, his son Faezul Adzra Patail Abdul Gani Patail’s law firm.
“He asked me to,” Leong said, when asked why he moved Gani’s call.
Gani was admitted as an advocate and solicitor of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak in Sabah in 1998.
Source : BOO SU-LYN @ The Malay Mail Online