KUALA LUMPUR: Talks with the relevant stakeholders should be held before the government moves towards separating the public prosecutor’s office from the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), says Azalina Othman Said.
Also, on the government’s effort to bring back the Parliamentary Services Act, the law and institutional reform minister said she had found that most Parliament staff did not agree with Parliament being made an independent body.
Currently, parliamentary affairs are directly under the Prime Minister’s Department (PMD).
“They want to remain under the government completely. So, we need to have talks on (reintroducing) the Act too.
“Likewise with the roles of the attorney-general, the AGC might not want (a separation of roles). Therefore, we need to discuss the matter,” she told the Dewan Rakyat in her winding-up speech on Budget 2023.
Azalina was responding to Lim Guan Eng (PH-Bagan), who asked for an update on the separation of the roles to ensure transparency and accountability.
Various quarters have called for the separation of the roles of the attorney-general and the public prosecutor in order to preserve their independence.
In September, election watchdog Bersih urged the government to implement the separation of powers with immediate effect, noting that the AGC had established a working committee to look into the matter last year.
In December, Azalina held a meeting with AGC representatives, led by Solicitor-General Ahmad Terrirudin Salleh, to discuss the matter. She had described it as the first step in separating the roles of the attorney-general and public prosecutor.
Meanwhile, Azalina also said the PMD was studying the introduction of a Public Defenders Bill, to offer legal assistance in criminal cases so that poor Malaysians may be given justice.