KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 — The federal government announced today the formation of two special task forces to kickstart institutional reforms to separate the attorney general’s (AG) roles as both the government’s legal adviser and public prosecutor.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said the two task forces — comparative study and technical — seek to expedite the reform process over long-standing concerns about the possible conflicts of interest in the AG serving both functions.

Azalina said the decision was reached earlier today after she chaired the first meeting involving representatives of the Parliament Special Select Committee on Human Rights, Elections and Institutional Reforms, Opposition MPs, Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) and Legal Affairs Division (BHEUU).

“I have chaired the first meeting, which among others, discussed the terms of reference and the challenges faced in implementing the said reform efforts.


“The meeting has agreed for two special task forces to be formed in order to expedite these reform measures.

“The Madani government remains committed in its effort to reform the separation of the AG’s dual role in ensuring a stronger democratic governance and improvement on the administration of law,” she said in a statement.

Among those present during the meeting were Selayang MP William Leong, who is chairman of the special select committee; Jelutong MP RSN Rayer, who is a committee member; Masjid Tanah MP Datuk Wira Mas Ermieyati Samsudin; and Besut MP Datuk Che Mohamad Zulkifly Jusoh representing the Opposition bloc.


According to Azalina, the comparative study task force is tasked with conducting studies through evidence-based research on several Commonwealth countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Kenya in order to obtain further data not publicly accessible.

This task force includes Azalina and representatives of the aforementioned Parliament Special Select Committee, Opposition bloc, AGC, and BHEUU.

As for the technical task force, it is tasked with conducting a comprehensive study on future financial, legal, and staffing implications of the proposed reforms.

The task force, which will be managed completely by the AGC and BHEUU, will prepare an interim report within a year on a comprehensive empirical study of the separation of the roles of the public prosecutor and the AG.

“This includes taking into account the results of the study for Cabinet’s consideration,” Azalina said.

Azalina said further engagement and discussions between the technical special task force and stakeholders such as the Royal Malaysia Police and other enforcement agencies will be held soon.

The call for the AG’s dual roles to be separated was reignited after the prosecution’s decision last week to discontinue a corruption trial involving 47 charges against Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

On December 3, 2022, Azalina upon her appointment as minister said her law and institutional reform portfolio’s foremost focus is to make the necessary amendments to laws to make them relevant to our times, citing the separation of power of the AG and public prosecutor to preserve the independence of the public prosecutor’s discretion as an example.

On August 18, Azalina was reported saying that the Federal Constitution and about 19 existing laws would have to be amended to implement the proposed separation of powers between the AG and the public prosecutor, and that it would also involve additional government spending.

On September 8, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was reported saying that the proposal to separate the AG’s and public prosecutor’s roles had been presented to the Cabinet several months ago, and that it has been referred to a parliamentary select committee for further study, adding that the process to implement this would require high costs and would also take time while also requiring a two-thirds majority support in Parliament.

Previously on March 28, Anwar was reported saying in the Dewan Rakyat that there would be an additional RM300 million involved for the implementation of such a proposal.