KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition lawmakers from Barisan Nasional and PAS will support a Pakatan Harapan amendment of the Federal Constitution to separate the powers of the Attorney General (AG) and the Public Prosecutor.
The assurance was given by senior Umno and PAS lawmakers when Hanipa Maidin, the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of law, told Parliament there are no plans at the moment to separate the powers.
"At the moment, there is no Cabinet decision to implement the separation of the powers of the AG as the Government needs a two-thirds majority (in Parliament) to amend the Federal Constitution as required under Article 159(3) for the purpose.
"We do not want to risk tabling the amendment when we do not have the two-third majority.
"Maybe it will happen one day but I can't say when this will happen," Hanipa said when answering a supplementary question raised by Datuk Johari Abdul (PH-Sungai Petani) in Parliament on Wednesday. (Dec 5).
Johari suggested the Government set up a committee to consider amending the constitution.
"I am sure lawmakers from the Opposition will also want to see changes as they have witnessed how a former Prime Minister escaped being charged owing to a conflict of interest," he said.
Hanipa assured lawmakers that the issue of conflict of interest will not arise following the appointment of the AG Tommy Thomas.
"Who would imagine that the former Prime Minister would be charged in court or that the mastermind was charged in absentia," Hanipa said.
To this, Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (PAS-Kubang Kerian) said that PAS lawmakers would support amending the Constitution to separate the powers of the AG.
The PAS deputy president reminded Hanipa that the issue was not whether there would be a conflict of interest under the present administration but separating the powers of the AG.
Opposition lawmaker Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan (BN-Pontian) also said that Barisan lawmakers would also support effort to amend the constitution.
Pakatan Harapan had promised to separate the powers of the AG and Public Prosecutor in its election manifesto.