Review AG’s appointment methods, separate it from public prosecutor’s office

WHILE many political leaders from both sides of the divide hurled brickbats on former Attorney-General (AG) Tan Sri Tommy Thomas’ tell-all book, one leader decided to take another course.

Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan contended what many have said in the past, that the AG Chamber’s wield unbridled power that needs to be checked.

“This revelation justifies two crucial reformation that the Government must consider. Firstly, the appointment of the AG. Malaysia must put in place a more transparent and robust system in appointing the AG.

“Secondly, we must separate the AG from the Public Prosecutor’s role,” he said.

Hasan’s suggestion was in tandem with Thomas’ own assertion in his recently published memoir, entitled “My Story: Justice in the Wilderness”, where the latter suggested the roles to be separated to create a check and balance.

Many had in the past mooted the same idea, including former Law Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz during the administration of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Currently, the AG not only acts as the chief legal adviser to the Government but also the top public prosecutor of the land. The sitting AG also has an absolute discretion on whether to charge or drop a certain case, as provided under the Federal Constitution.

Proposals require constitutional amendments

Hasan said that in its current format, the appointment of an AG is the absolute prerogative of the sitting Prime Minister, which needs to be reviewed.

“It is more concerning when the nomination is made by a certain individual with vested interest and through a conversation with the Prime Minister, as written by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad himself.

“It is vital for Malaysia to have an appointment procedure is transparent and meets a set of criteria. Plus, we need a competent individual for a position with extraordinary authority such as the AG,” he opined.

In addition, he said the AG’s role must be separated from the Public Prosecutor’s office as to limit the centralisation of authority an individual has, and perform different functions.

However, the Rantau state assemblyman admitted that it would be a tough thing to do as the proposals would require the Government to amend Article 145 (3) of the Federal Constitution.

“We need a two-thirds majority MP support for that which is a difficult feat but preparations towards that direction must be made, nonetheless.

“This is to ensure the execution and administration of the national justice system continues to be a respected authority,” Hasan remarked. – Feb 9, 2021.



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