The attorney-general (AG) in appointing his ex-colleague to the Equanimity team is only doing what is best for the country, said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Hanipa Maidin.
“Our learned AG is a results-oriented guy. Hence, he only wants the best in his team.
“He will never compromise (and go for) mediocrity.
"Be that as it may, the appointment of the said lawyer ought to be viewed from such a perspective,” he said in a statement today.
Hanipa said the appointment - criticised by an Umno Youth leader as an alleged conflict of interest -, is the “sole discretion of the learned AG”.
“Thus, his decision ought to be duly respected,” the Amanah Sepang MP said.
He was commenting on AG Tommy Thomas’ appointment of Sitpah Selvaratnam, from his former law firm, to the legal team to claim the superyacht Equanimity that had allegedly been procured with funds siphoned from 1MDB.
Hanipa said critics had every right to raise their concerns as it is part of freedom of speech.
“Of course everyone has the right to comment. In Malaysia Baru, such a right would be jealously respected and protected.
“It is part of freedom of speech as enshrined in our Federal Constitution,” he said.
Thomas has explained his appointment of Sitpah does not pose any conflicts as she is not being paid any fees.
Her selection, he said, was based on her being the “country’s leading shipping lawyers with many years of experience chairing the shipping and admiralty law committee of the Bar Council”.
Hanipa concurred with the views of the legal fraternity that Sitpah’s sterling credentials were the most important factor in the matter.
“At the end of the day, our learned AG wants the best for his country. Please give him a chance to deliver.”