The prosecutorial powers of the attorney-general should be transferred to an independent office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the G25 Group of Eminent Malays recommends.
It said the office of the attorney-general should not combine the roles of adviser to the government and public prosecutor.
“There is a fundamental conflict of interest in the functions and powers of the AG, which enables him to take action against national interests.
“It is poor governance that the AG is the legal adviser for the government of Malaysia and also the final arbiter on decisions to prosecute,” G25 said in a statement today.
The group said this in response to the Attorney-General’s Chambers refusal to prosecute 1MDB for providing inaccurate information and failing to give full disclosure when it sought approval from Bank Negara for overseas investment.
This was despite the central bank’s recommendation for legal action against 1MDB,which was rejected by the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
The decision was made by Mohamed Apandi Ali who replaced Abdul Gani Patail as attorney-general in July.
Abdul Gani, who was coordinating several investigations into 1MDB, was abruptly removed on the same day Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak purged his opponents from the government.
In light of the incident, G25 also called for greater safeguards in the appointment and removal of the attorney-general and the proposed director of public prosecutions.
“G25 recommends that the appointment of the attorney-general and the director should be in the same manner as the appointment of a judge or the auditor-general.
“That is to say, by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the prime minister after consultation with the Conference of Rulers,” it said.
Likewise, it said this should also apply to the removal of the attorney-general and the director of public prosecutions.
“In other words, the attorney-general or the director should enjoy a security of tenure so that he/she can carry out his other duties without fear or favour and so that he could be seen to be independent and commanding public trust and confidence,” it said.