02 November 2007

Top legal officer's bid to retire rejected


PUTRAJAYA: In an about-turn, the government has rejected the application of former Attorney-General's Chambers prosecution head Datuk Yusof Zainal Abiden to go on optional retirement.

He was to join the Securities Commission yesterday.

Yusof is now a legal officer on the same grade, but without any position.

The New Straits Times learnt that the approval given to Yusof, 52, to take optional retirement was revoked on "grounds of national interest".

Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail was not available for comment as he is in the Hague, Netherlands. Gani is one of the counsel representing Malaysia in the International Court of Justice over the Pulau Batu Puteh territorial dispute proceedings between Malaysia and Singapore which begin on Tuesday.
Solicitor-General 1 Datuk Idrus Harun could also not be reached for comment.

When contacted, Yusof confirmed that he was still with the A-G's Chambers, but declined further comment.

On Sept 11, Gani confirmed speculation that Yusuf and deputy public prosecutor Sallehuddin Saidin, 44, who was in charge of high profile cases, were going on optional retirement.

Gani had said then that the two sent in their applications for retirement in late August.

He said he approved the applications because the two men wanted to move on to greener pastures.

Gani had also said there were sufficient experienced staff in his office to fill the vacuum left by the two.

Both men went on leave prior to retirement.

On Oct 1, former civil division head in the Chambers, Tun Majid Tun Hamzah, was appointed to fill Yusof's position.

But now, Yusof is back in the A-G's Chambers.

Yusof, a law graduate from University of Malaya, joined the Judicial and Legal Service in 1981 and was posted to Malacca as a magistrate.

He was appointed prosecutions head in the A-G's Chambers in 2002.

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