Two ex-PMs should be called up by PSSC over separation of powers issue, says Johor DAP rep

JOHOR BARU: The Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) on Human Rights, Election and Institutional Reform should call up two former prime ministers as part of their proceeding on the separation of powers between the Attorney General and Public Prosecutor.

Johor DAP committee member Dr Boo Cheng Hau said he welcomed the announcement made by PSSC chairman William Leong Jee Keen that the proceeding was proposed to further discuss the matter and to study the Federal Constitution for necessary amendments.

“The legal system has been long entrenched in the Federal Constitution by providing the executive branch too much power in appointing the Attorney General, judiciary and law enforcement bodies.

“This has invited accusations by the current Opposition that the executive branch of the government, namely the Prime Minister's Office, is interfering in the legal process involving several high profile cases and politicians,” he said in a statement here on Thursday (Sept 28).

Dr Boo added that among the high-profile cases were the acquittal of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and 1MDB former CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy for the alleged tampering of the auditor-general’s audit report on 1MDB, former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin being acquitted of four charges involving abuse of power and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi being granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal for his graft cases.

He said all must be involved in the reform of Malaysia’s justice system including non-governmental organisations and civil society as well as the unity government and Opposition members.

Dr Boo added that the PSSC was the most suitable platform to gather input from all stakeholders to forge a convincing reform of the justice system and further substantive institutional reforms.

He said former prime ministers, who were involved in appointing top civil servants and law enforcement officers including attorneys general and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioners, should be called up as key witnesses.

“They were reluctant to reform the justice system during their time but now they themselves have alleged the justice system has failed.

“Tun Dr Mahathir is the longest serving prime minister for 22 years and 22 months and he even set up the council of eminent persons and the formation of a five-member committee on institutional reforms, whose report has never been published.

“Muhyiddin, who appointed the former attorney general and present MACC chief commissioner, should be called as a key witness as to why the allegations of executive interference on the high profile corruption cases could be substantiated and his suggestions for the creation of an independent justice system,” he added.

Dr Boo said Dr Mahathir would be one of the most prominent witnesses if he is called to the PSSC where he can provide valuable opinions and share his experience as to why the reform of justice was never successfully embarked.

“His presence at the hearing will be crucial for the PSSC to recommend proposals to the government as to what sort of justice system reform should be in place,” he added.

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