PUTRAJAYA: The move to carry out separation of powers between the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Attorney-General's Chambers has been postponed as it requires an amendment to the Federal Constitution.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government needs a two-third majority in the Dewan Rakyat for the amendment to take place.
“At present, we do not have the numbers, namely a two-third majority in the Dewan (Rakyat) to ensure that the amendment can be approved.
“Therefore, the implementation will be postponed temporarily," he told a press conference after chairing the 5th Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption meeting at Perdana Putra on Wednesday.
Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as well as Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Centre (GIACC) director-general Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed.
Previously, the Bar Council and election watchdog Bersih 2.0 had urged the government to separate the role of the public prosecutor from the AG’s Chambers in order to empower the prosecutors’ independence.
A study was reportedly carried out to look into the issue.
Article 145 of the Federal Constitution would have to be amended if the matter was to be implemented apart from other related legislation on the powers of the Public Prosecutor and the Attorney General provided under Act 593 and Act 388, which would have to be reviewed.
Pakatan Harapan had pledged prior to the 14th general election that it would separate the functions of the Attorney-General (AG) and the Public Prosecutor (PP) if it won the election.
Attorney-General Tommy Thomas was also previously quoted as saying that separation of powers between the AG and PP would be among his objectives. He had also noted that the Bar Council had for decades taken a position that separation of powers was crucial for judicial independence. — Reports by Azura Abas, Hashini Kavishtri Kannan, Irwan Shafrizan Ismail and Zanariah Abd Mutalib