Call To Set End Of Next Year As Deadline For Ag Pp Separation
Putrajaya has been urged to set the end of next year as the deadline for the separation of powers between the attorney-general and public prosecutor.
Electoral reform group Bersih and 48 other civil society organisations (CSOs) and NGOs made the call at a joint press conference today, saying the separation of power is crucial to protect the integrity of the legal institution from political influence.
Notable organisations in the group include All Women’s Action Society (Awam), Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (Abim), G25, human rights group Suaram, and youth electoral movement Undi18, among others.
The group reiterated the call for the prime minister and the attorney-general to impose a moratorium on any application by the attorney-general for DNAA (discharge not amounting to an acquittal) or total acquittal for all ongoing high-profile cases involving politicians, or people linked to them until the separation of power has taken place.
"Non-interference in criminal justice requires such a moratorium to rule out selective impunity.
"The government should also expedite and declare the end of 2024 as the timeline for this separation that has been announced by Minister in Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Azalina Othman Said on Sept 18," said the group.
They further urged the reopening or recharging of DNAA cases involving politicians charged with corruption, in particular, but not limited to the one involving Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's Yayasan Akalbudi case.
"The court must be allowed to determine the guilt or innocence of those charged based on the evidence presented."
Uphold the rule of law
Elaborating, the group said that the DNAA, or dropping of charges against politicians or people linked to them, after a change of government or allegiance, sends the message that one's innocence is closely tied to one's power.
They asked whether former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, who's currently being imprisoned for corruption, will be accorded similar treatment.
"Will Najib, who has three remaining cases related to 1MDB and income tax, and his wife Rosmah Mansor, who is facing RM7.1 million case of money laundering and tax evasion, be similarly released from their corruption charges, and in the case of Najib, to pave the way for his pardon in the SRC (International) case?
"If Najib and Rosmah can walk free as if they were victims of selective prosecution after their crime in the 1MDB scandal brought our country to the brink of financial collapse, Malaysia would reappear as a pariah economy without rule of law, driving global investors away," said the group.
The rule of law must be upheld, no matter the cost. This, according to the group, is also crucial to ensure Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's administration lasts a full term.
"We want a clean government that deals with systemic corruption in our country and that no political parties and politicians dare to amass wealth by abusing power.
"Political expediency and sophistry to grant selective impunity to Najib and Rosmah would have very dire political and economic consequences."
Bersih also launched an online petition to urge the prime minister to act on its demands to uphold the rule of law and political stability. - Mkini
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