The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) lauds the progress that has been made by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reforms) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said in setting up two task forces as part of an effort to expedite the separation of the office of the Attorney-General (AG) and the Public Prosecutor (PP).
As we have stated previously, IDEAS stands ready to offer our assistance in helping the government expedite this critical process of institutional reform, especially in the proposed task force for a comparative study.
IDEAS offers our insights and recommendations to the task force, as we have published a policy paper titled ‘Separating the Attorney-General and Public Prosecutor: Enhancing Rule of Law in Malaysia’ in 2016.
The policy paper examines global best practices in countries such as the UK, Kenya, the US and India, which is consistent with the task force’s mandate to conduct evidence-based research from England, Kenya, Australia and Canada.
Bersih’s paper published in 2021 is also an important reference in this reform effort.
IDEAS also applauds the inclusion of members of the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) on Human Rights, Elections and Institutional Reforms and Opposition Members of Parliament in the task force.
Cross-partisan collaboration and a greater role of the PSSC in critical institutional reforms is a welcome development as incorporating a multitude of viewpoints from across the political spectrum will improve policy-making, while also empowering democratic institutions in Parliament.
“IDEAS would like to remind the government and the public that an independent AG’s office should be just one 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 Funds Act,” stated Dr Tricia Yeoh, CEO of IDEAS.
“We also applaud the government’s planned tabling of the Parliamentary Services Act in October.
“All these reforms will strengthen Malaysia’s democratic institutions, ensure their independence from political interference, as well as improve investor confidence in Malaysia while also stabilizing the political upheavals that have plagued the country over the last few years” she said.
“In a few days’ time, we will once again celebrate Malaysia Day. There is no time like the present for us all to commit strongly towards a Malaysia where its rakyat has full trust in the country’s institutions.
“It is my hope that the government will prioritize meaningful actions and avoid unnecessary steps that might hinder much-needed reforms,” ended Dr Yeoh.