SHAH ALAM: PPBM will restore the independence of the judiciary should the opposition take over Putrajaya in the next general election (GE14), says party chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The former prime minister said this in a speech at the opening of the inaugural PPBM annual general meeting held at the Ideal Convention Centre here today.
“The separation of powers between the executive, legislature (Parliament) and judiciary will be restored,” he said referring to the three branches of government.
“We will also ensure that the government, especially the prime minister, will not be able to control the judiciary.”
Mahathir, who is also Pakatan Harapan chairman, added that PPBM is also ready to make the necessary changes to ensure the appointment of senior officials is first approved by a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC).
“The PSC comprising both government and opposition MPs will ensure that appointees are qualified before being presented to the Yang diPertuan Agong.
“The same way, such senior officials cannot be removed from their posts without first facing the PSC to assess the reasons for their dismissal,” he told the audience at the AGM.
He added that if a senior official had fallen sick, a medical board would be the one to decide on the state of his or her health, and whether such a person was still fit to work or not.
“If they are unwell, then the medical board should decide on the matter. The prime minister cannot trick the King over the state of health of a senior official or a judge,” Mahathir said.
Though he did not mention any names, it is believed that Mahathir was alluding to the case of former attorney-general Gani Patail being removed from office on July 27, 2015, three months before his actual retirement, with ill health given as the sole reason.
Gani was then in the midst of leading a special task force investigating allegations of corruption at 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion deposited into the private bank accounts of Prime Minister Najib Razak shortly before the last general election in 2013.
The new Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali later cleared Najib of any wrongdoing, based on the clarification that the money was a donation from a member of the Saudi royal family.
Many quarters have blamed Mahathir for removing the separation of powers between the executive, legislature and judiciary when he was prime minister from 1981 to 2003.
This is believed to have started with the 1988 judicial crisis, when Salleh Abas (then Lord President of the Supreme Court) was removed from office and five other Supreme Court judges were suspended.