Azalina reiterates backing for separation of AG’s powers to avoid it from being abused

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Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said that dealing with the powers of the AG is a big challenge because the AG advises the largest institution in the constitution — the judiciary, legislative and executive. — Bernama pic
Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said that dealing with the powers of the AG is a big challenge because the AG advises the largest institution in the constitution — the judiciary, legislative and executive. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said today said that the powers of the attorney general (AG) must be separated to avoid any more abuse of power in the country.

Speaking at a talk organised by Bersih 2.0 titled “Improving the Attorney General’s Chambers: The Direction of Professional and Fair Prosecution”, the former deputy speaker agreed that this should be done so the AG’s are not politically motivated or can be easily manipulated by those in power.

“During the Emergency, I wrote an open letter to the AG on my view of the whole thing, and many are aware of my letter. But when the AG is also the adviser to the prime minister, to the Cabinet and government as well as the Agong, if it’s the same person giving out the advice, surely it’ll be consistent.

“And when he (AG) advises, who has the power to question him? If one were to question him, he might just prosecute you because his power to prosecute is huge,” she said.

She said that dealing with the powers of the AG is a big challenge because the AG advises the largest institution in the constitution — the judiciary, legislative and executive.

“In the case of the Emergency, if the same person is advising while talking about the legislative, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who is part of the legislative, also comes off as if the decision of the executive cannot be changed by the legislative.

“This is one such occasion that makes me nervous when I realise that, who do we go to, to question the decision to implement the Emergency even though the constitution allows it,” she said.

During the talk, Bersih had recommended several changes in order to prevent the misuse of the AG’s power, including not allowing the AG to be a public prosecutor or a service commission member, providing security of tenure to avoid manipulations or threats to force the AG into making politically motivated decisions, and the separation of the judicial service from the legal service under the Judicial Service Commission.

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