PAS, Umno back separation of powers for AG, public prosecutor

A two-third majority in the Dewan Rakyat is needed to amend laws. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno and PAS lawmakers today said they would support any amendments to the law to separate the powers of the attorney-general (AG) and public prosecutor.

Ahmad Maslan (BN-Pontian) said Umno would like to see a two-thirds majority achieved in Parliament to allow the amendments to be made.

“The AG can charge the former prime minister. But he has also dropped charges against a minister (in Pakatan Harapan),” he said in the Dewan Rakyat.

He also asked if a Cabinet paper was being prepared on the separation of powers of the AG and public prosecutor.

Earlier, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Hanipa Maidin acknowledged that the separation of powers was part of the PH manifesto. However, he said the government needed a two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat in order to change laws.

“We don’t have a two-thirds majority, that is why we don’t want to take any risks.

“It will happen, but we don’t know when,” he said to Johari Abdul (PH-Sungai Petani), who also asked if a committee had been set up to look into the matter.

Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (PAS-Kubang Kerian) said his party would support the government in amending the law to separate the powers of the AG and public prosecutor.

“The separation of powers must happen,” he said. “I am sure others want this to happen as well. We hope things will be sped up.”

Hanipa also told the lower house that under the new administration, the AG had charged former prime minister Najib Razak and the alleged mastermind behind the 1MDB scandal, Low Taek Jho.

“We never thought the previous prime minister or Jho Low would be charged. We have taken steps to show that we are serious,” he added.

Last month, Hanipa said PH faced a major hurdle in amending the law on the matter as it did not have a two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat.