The coalition government is committed to the separation of powers between the attorney-general (AG) and the public prosecutor (PP) to ensure the integrity of the legal institutions, says Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Azalina Othman Said.
She also rapped the opposition for not implementing the separation of powers between the AG and PP when they were in power before but constantly raising the issue of selective prosecution now.
"Why is it that when you (the opposition) were the government, you didn't separate the powers of AG and PP? When one of you is prosecuted, you claim that it's a selective prosecution, but when one of us is prosecuted, you say it serves us right.
"The Madani government is committed to ensuring fairer governance. We walk the talk. They (the opposition), they don't walk, they don't talk," she said when winding up the debate on the 12th Malaysia Plan mid-term review at the special Dewan Rakyat sitting today.
Azalina said this in reply to Perikatan Nasional's Ronald Kiandee (Beluran) and Hamzah Zainudin (Larut) who raised the issue of alleged selective prosecution in court cases involving opposition leaders.
Azalina said that under Article 145 of the Federal Constitution, the AG has the power, exercisable at his discretion, to institute, conduct, or discontinue any proceedings for an offence.
"The AG has the power to prosecute or drop the charges against someone, so when a judge acquits, it doesn't mean that the person cannot be charged.
"Even during the tenure of previous attorney-generals, including Tommy Thomas, many cases have been dropped. That's why the government is committed to separating the powers of the AG from those of the PP," she said.
In fact, the government would conduct an empirical study before finalising the proposal for the separation of powers between the AG and the PP, she added.