The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) is encouraged by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reforms) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman’s remarks on separating the office of the Attorney-General (AG) and the Public Prosecutor (PP).
We urge the government to expedite the process as civil society organisations (CSOs) have been making such calls for several years, and the previous administration also promised to undertake this institutional reform, with the previous law minister making similar remarks almost one year ago.
“We note from the minister’s statement that the government intends to conduct a comprehensive empirical study within one year before the separation can be finalised,” IDEAS CEO Dr. Tricia Yeoh said.
“To that end, IDEAS is ready to work together with the government to offer our insights and recommendations in expediting the process.
“IDEAS published a policy paper titled ‘Separating the Attorney-General and Public Prosecutor: Enhancing Rule of Law in Malaysia’ in 2016.
“Bersih’s paper published in 2021 is also an important reference in this reform effort, ” she said.
As the paper argues, separating the role of the AG and that of the PP is a necessary step towards enhancing the rule of law in Malaysia.
With remarks made by some parties in the country claiming selective prosecution and the government’s commitment to institutional reform, the rule of law, and addressing corruption, it would be pivotal for the separation to be undertaken as soon as practicable.
“An independent AG’s office is part of the indispensable package of reforms that the government should undertake, which also includes the Political Financing Act, the Fiscal Responsibility Act as well as the Constituency Development Fund Act.
“All these reforms will strengthen the country’s institutions, ensure their independence from political interference as well as improve investor confidence in Malaysia,” adds Dr. Yeoh.
Given that the calls for separating the roles have been consistent and almost universal, we urge the government to expedite the process of making the necessary legislative and constitutional amendments.
We reiterate IDEAS’ commitment to assist in expediting the process to make this critical institutional reform.