Separation of AG-PP powers: ‘We must not regret it later’

THE proposed separation of powers between the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) and the Public Prosecutor’s Office requires careful consideration, says Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

“I am unable to answer all the questions because we need careful consideration so that if any amendments are made to the Constitution, it will not be regretted by the nation in the future,” she said when replying to a supplementary question raised by Gobind Singh Deo (PH-Damansara) in Parliament yesterday.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of law and institutional reforms earlier informed the House that the government had agreed to proceed with the proposal following the setting up of two special teams to study the matter in three phases owing to the complexities involved.

She said it would involve evidence-based research on several existing models used in other countries to come up with a framework most suitable for the nation.

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Azalina said she would be chairing a meeting tomorrow for a briefing on the initial study on the doctrinal approach taken by nine countries on the separation of the two offices.

Under the second phase, she said the technical team would look at the cost and legal implications, including appointments, before submitting an interim report to the Cabinet.

“As such, it would be premature to determine the specific financial implications at this stage.

“However, it will not be a constraint for the Madani government to implement this reform,” she added.

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Under the third phase, Azalina said that a series of engagement sessions would be held with the state governments of Sabah and Sarawak, including other relevant stakeholders such as the police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and others in due course.

Earlier, Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan (PN-Kota Baru) asked whether amendments to Article 145 of the Federal Constitution would place the powers of appointment of the Attorney General with the Judicial Appointments Commission as they were prior to 1963.

Azalina said that these were some of the questions that the study would look into.

She informed the House that it took England and Wales almost eight years to separate the powers of prosecution from the Crown Prosecution Service.

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