Bersih fears govt will shelve separation of AG-PP’s powers

PETALING JAYA: Bersih is concerned that the government may delay separating the powers of the attorney-general and public prosecutor, following law and institutional reform minister Azalina Othman Said’s comments that the process will be carried out in phases.

The electoral reform watchdog is concerned that the reform might be delayed until the 16th general election, scheduled for 2027, and that it might not even be carried out by then.

In a statement, Bersih urged Azalina to make known whether the timeline she announced was an extension of her statement in August last year, in which she had said the government would study the issue comprehensively within 12 months.

Bersih called on the government to provide a “public guarantee” that the process would be completed before the tabling of the 2026 budget in October 2025.

“This public assurance is very important to ward off the impression that ‘further studies and committees’ are not delaying tactics.

“This will consume significant financial resources, so the government must provide appropriate funding in the 2026 budget,” it said.

Yesterday, Azalina said the separation of powers would be done gradually over two years after empirical studies in three countries – Canada, Australia, and the UK.

She said the Cabinet had, on Jan 31, agreed to begin the study, starting in Canada in May.

Key to the study will be meetings with the Canadian justice minister and attorney-general, Arif Virani, and the director of public prosecutions, Kathleen Roussel.
(First published by Free Malaysia Today on 3 April 2024: