KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 ― Reforms and greater safeguards are needed for the office of the Attorney-General to prevent his overlapping functions as public prosecutor and advisor to the government from affecting his independence, the so-called G25 said today.
It pointed to the recent and unceremonious removal of Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail as among the reasons why such protection was necessary, although the pressure comprising retired senior civil servants did not elaborate.
Gani was serving as the spokesman for the multi-agency special taskforce investigating 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) prior to his removal, and his successor has since announced the dissolution of the taskforce.
“In addition, the Office of the AG should not combine the Advisor role to the Government and the Public Prosecutor.
“G25 supports recommendations made by other CSOs (Crown Solicitor's Office) to transfer the prosecutorial powers to an independent Office of the Director of Prosecutions,” the group said in a statement.
The group also called for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to be accorded prosecutorial powers in order for it to be able to carry out its role more efficiently.
“Independence of the MACC as a public authority reporting to Parliament, and it should be given prosecutorial powers in addition to strengthening its investigative powers,” the group added.
It stressed that such “corrective actions” were necessary in order to restore public confidence to the government as well as key public institutions like the MACC.
“This is critical at this juncture when there is mistrust of the Government and concerns that civil service and the Office of the Chief Secretary will be undermined, and concerns of more civil servants being penalized for doing their jobs,” it said.
A multi-agency special taskforce, comprising the Attorney-General’s Chambers, BNM, the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, had been investigating claims of misappropriation involving Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and 1MDB, but was recently disbanded.
However, each of the four federal agencies are free to conduct their own investigations into the matter, according to a recent statement from the MACC citing the new AG Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali.