For immediate release
On the Malaysian Bar’s filing for judicial review on the AG’s discretionary powers
Kuala Lumpur, 17 March 2016 – Commenting on the Malaysian Bar’s filing for judicial review on the discretionary powers of the Attorney General to close investigations involving Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, IDEAS Chief Executive Officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan stated that “I believe the current setup of the Attorney General’s Chambers in Malaysia – in which the Attorney General is both the government’s lawyer and the public prosecutor – is problematic in managing public expectations for independent investigation and prosecution of alleged grand corruption.”
“In cases involving any member of the executive, especially the Prime Minister, extraordinary measures must be taken to guarantee that deliberations on prosecution will be handled independently. There is a serious structural issue with the Attorney General’s Chambers which impacts upon public trust in the institution.”
“I have written previously on the conflict of interest in the Attorney General’s Chambers.  In other countries like the United Kingdom the Attorney General does not influence the decision to prosecute except in certain special circumstances. Furthermore, the Attorney General in the UK answers directly to the Parliament. In Malaysia, the Attorney General has the sole discretion to prosecute cases and is instead answerable to the Executive. This must change.”

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