‘Independent bodies should decide on key posts’

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 28 Jan 2018

SHAH ALAM: Appointments for key positions in public institutions should be made by independent commissions instead of the government, said a G25 panel discussion.

The panel, comprising G25 founding member Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin, former Bank Negara assistant governor Datuk Latifah Merican Cheong and former Khazanah Nasional managing director Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim, agreed there should be absolute separation of powers between the executive, legislature and judiciary.

The discussion on reforms for public sector governance during the public forum “Reforms for a Progressive Malaysia” raised the need for public officials to do their jobs without fear or favour.

Among the core recommendations was to separate the dual roles of the Attorney-General (A-G) so there is no inherent conflict of interest.

“We want the A-G to only be the legal adviser, while another office is set up for the director of public prosecution,” said Noor Farida.

The panel called for an independent commission, answerable to Parliament, to be set up to decide on appointments and dismissals of the A-G, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission commissioners, the Inspector-General of Police, as well as judges.

“Currently, the A-G is appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, under the advice of the Prime Minister, and this leads to the perception that the A-G is beholden to the Prime Minister,” the panel said.

They also recommended the setting up of a commission to investigate allegations of misconduct within the police force so that members of the public would be brave enough to step forward.

As for the appointment of judges, they recommended that the Judicial Appointments Commission submit its recommendations directly to the Conference of Rulers instead of to the Prime Minister.

“In this manner we believe we will gain more independent judges,” said Noor Farida.

On whether civil society was capable enough to push for reforms, Latifah noted that it was incumbent upon society to offer ideas and recommendations.

Mohd Sheriff also said that reforms did not come from the government, rather they came from the people.

“If civil society organisations can convince the executive that these changes are truly necessary, eventually the government will have to listen,” he said.

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