Federal Government Must Give Public Commitment that the Separation of Powers Between Attorney General and Public Prosecutor Will Be Implemented Before the 2026 Budget

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) refers to a statement by YB Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reform) yesterday (2 April 2024) that the initiative to separate the powers of the Attorney General and the Public Prosecutor will be implemented in phases over two years after a study in three countries.

Based on this development, BERSIH is concerned that this major reform agenda may be delayed until the eve of the next general election, and may not even be completed by the current Unity Government's term.

BERSIH would like to ask YB Azalina to provide clarification on the following:
i) Is the two-year timeline announced in yesterday's statement an "extension" to what was announced last year? On 18 August 2023, YB Azalina stated that a comprehensive study related to this agenda will run for a period of one year, meaning to be concluded by this year end (late 2024) which will pave the way for its implementation in the next year which is 2025.

ii) Can the Federal Government give a public guarantee that the implementation of the separation of powers (not merely the completion of the task force's study) will be done before the 2026 Budget which will be presented in October 2025? This public assurance is very important to ward off the impression that any further study and committee is not a tactic to delay the implementation of the separation of powers. As this separation of powers will consume significant financial resources, the government must make appropriate allocations in the 2026 Budget to facilitate its implementation.

BERSIH urges that the implementation of this reform should not be delayed and the Government should adhere to the timeline set previously. BERSIH and the Rakyat are also waiting for the results of the interim report by the Technical Special Taskforce for the separation of the Attorney General and Prosecutor which should be presented in September this year.

BERSIH also would like to repeat our call that the Prime Minister and the Attorney General establish a temporary moratorium policy to stop any DNAA (Dismissal Not Amounting to Acquittal) by the Attorney General that involves corruption and public interest cases that are ongoing in court, especially involving high-profile politicians whether in the opposition or the current government.

This moratorium is important while waiting for the implementation of the separation of powers of the Attorney General and the Public Prosecutor so that the court process can be carried out fairly and with public confidence.

Released by:
BERSIH Steering Committee

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