KUALA LUMPUR: The Attorney-General (AG) should not also be the Public Prosecutor (PP), said Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.
Azalina, 58, who is a lawyer, wrote in her blog, azalinaothmansaid.com, today that she had proposed this way back in June 2018.
The Member of Parliament for Pengarang pointed out that pre-1960, an AG was appointed not on the advice of the prime minister but was selected by the King from among members of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLS) and could be removed only by a tribunal of at least five judges.
In the blog post titled “Perception vs Reality”, she said all that changed in 1960 when the Government of Malaya tabled amendments to Article 145 (of the Federal Constitution) to enable an AG to be appointed not only from among members of the judicial and legal service but to be chosen also from among politicians, lawyers and even academicians, and that the safeguard for the AG’s removal was also obliterated.
Azalina further said that the prosecutorial powers made the AG one of the most powerful persons in Malaysia and, hence, in the absence of any proper check-and-balance mechanism to ensure the AG’s independence and accountability, there is a greater need to guarantee that the AG’s powers are exercised responsibly and independently.
She said that former Attorney-General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas’ memoir ‘My Story: Justice in the Wilderness’ should serve as a catalyst for MPs from across the divide to unite in order to make sincere attempts to oversee constitutional amendments with regards to the provision concerning the AG’s office vis-à-vis Article 145 so that that the AG’s role is separate from that of the PP. – Bernama