On Tuesday, his lawyers told the media that Malaysian prosecutors have not appealed against his acquittal in a case of abusing his position as prime minister to amend a government audit into 1MDB. The Attorney-General’s Chambers was expected to appeal against Najib’s acquittal earlier in 2023.
Rosmah was sentenced to 10 years in jail and fined RM970 million (US$209.4 million) last September after she was found guilty of corruption. She is currently appealing the judgement.
Mr Fann told CNA: “Our concern is that before the separation of the AG and PP role takes place legally, there will be more DNAA of more high profile cases such as Najib and Rosmah. There should be a moratorium to not issue any DNAA findings until the AGs’ role is split.”
MALAYSIA SHOULD EMULATE LIKES OF AUSTRALIA, MAURITIUS
In her press conference on Wednesday, Ms Azalina said the proposed task force for comparative study will conduct evidence-based research from several countries such as England, Australia, Canada and Kenya to obtain more information that cannot be accessed through open data studies of global best practices.
She said this task force will also include representatives of the Parliament Special Select Committee, opposition Members of Parliament, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) and the Legal Affairs Division (BHEUU), while the technical task force will be managed completely by the AGC and BHEUU.
Law lecturer Mr Hafiz added that Malaysia should mirror the likes of former British colonies Australia and Mauritius in their process in splitting the AG’s role.
In the Australian model, the AG — known as the First Law Officer — is an MP appointed by the governor-general on the prime minister’s advice. The appointee acts as the government’s principal legal adviser.
Mr Hafiz also pointed out that Australia has a Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP), which carries out criminal prosecutions and operates independently of both the AG and the political process.
While Australian laws grant the AG the power to issue written directions or guidelines to the CDPP, the AG is required to first consult with the CDPP before issuing directions, and such directions have to be tabled in Australia’s Parliament, Mr Hafiz said.
He cited how Mauritius, an island republic located in the Indian Ocean, has also split the role of its procureur-peneral with the advent of the 1964 Constitution. The procureur-peneral’s duties in Mauritius were previously similar to that of the AG in Malaysia today.
In 1964, Mauritius then created two new offices, that of the AG which acts as the government’s legal adviser and the director of public prosecutions (DPP), two separate and distinct roles.
Mr Hafiz noted that both Singapore and Malaysia have the same model, in which the role of the public prosecutor and chief legal advisor to the government is fused under the AG.
However, he stressed that the political situation in Singapore is different than in Malaysia, and that the former has a reputation of incorruptibility.
“The public and international community generally has faith in the Singapore legal system, including in criminal prosecution,” said Mr Hafiz.
Mr Hafiz added that the call by activists and legal scholars for a transparent process and shorter timeline for the separation of the roles of the AG and public prosecutor in Malaysia “is not unreasonable”.
“Where there’s political will to separate the roles, there’s a way,” he told CNA.