Empirical study on separation of AG-PP powers has started, says Azalina

KUALA LUMPUR: An empirical study on separating the powers of the Attorney General (AG) and Public Prosecutor (PP) has begun, says Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, in line with the government’s effort to deliver on its promise for institutional reforms.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) said she, along with the Canadian Justice Minister and AG, as well as the United Kingdom’s Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Ministry of Justice had recently met to discuss the matter.

Azalina said they met during a recent Commonwealth Law Ministers meeting in Zanzibar, Tanzania on March 4 where the leaders shared inputs regarding efforts to separate the powers of the AG and PP.

Apart from that, Azalina said the ministry had also presented a paper to the Cabinet on Feb 7 on the rationale and parameters of the separation of powers, adding that the direction and parameters of the empirical study was approved.

Azalina said the Cabinet has also agreed to the establishment of two special teams, namely the Special Task Force for Comparative Studies and the Technical Task Force.

“The Special Task Force for Comparative Studies consists of the minister (Azalina) as well as representatives of the Special Select Committee on Human Rights, Elections and Institutional Reforms, representatives of the Opposition Bloc, and the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC).

“The Legal Affairs Division (BHEUU) under the Prime Minister's Department has started an effort to conduct an interim empirical evidence-based research involving three countries, namely the UK, Australia and Canada to obtain information about best practices in those countries so that an appropriate model in relation to the separation of the roles of the AG and PP can be recommended to the government.”

Azalina said this in a Parliamentary written reply, in response to a question by Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin (PN-Larut) who asked for updates on the government’s plan to separate the powers of AG and PP.

The Pengerang MP said the recent discussions and engagement sessions will allow the best framework to be adopted in Malaysia, especially since the current model has been used since independence.

“Therefore, a comprehensive study needs to be carried out to ensure the continuity of checks and balances, and the availability of all parties so that the promised institutional reforms can be realised efficiently,” she added.

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