On first day at office, PM stresses need for separation of powers

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (centre) arrives for the monthly meeting with workers from the Prime Minister’s Department in Putrajaya May 21, 2018. — Pictures by Razak Ghazali
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (centre) arrives for the monthly meeting with workers from the Prime Minister’s Department in Putrajaya May 21, 2018. — Pictures by Razak Ghazali

PUTRAJAYA, May 21 — Returning here as prime minister once more after nearly 16 years, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told an assembly of civil servants today that it was imperative to keep the country’s institutions independent and separate.

Speaking to workers from the Prime Minister’s Department for the first time since winning the 14th general election, he also urged them to give his administration their every cooperation.

“The separation of powers among us must be maintained, as only through this way we can make sure there is not embezzlement in the country’s administration.

“We have to separate the lawmakers, the enforcers of the law, and the judiciary,” he said.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks to workers from the Prime Minister’s Department for the first time since winning the 14th general election, in Putrajaya May 21, 2018.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks to workers from the Prime Minister’s Department for the first time since winning the 14th general election, in Putrajaya May 21, 2018.

Allowing the three pillars of government to intermingle would erode their accountability and allow one to dominate the others to the point that they could no longer check each other, he said.

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was repeatedly accused on concentrating power in the hands of the executive that he controlled, neutering the powers of the legislature and judiciary to act as watchdogs to his administration.

Dr Mahathir said the commingling of powers could even facilitate actions that were against the laws, as those entrusted to enforce these would be complicit with those breaking them, he added.

The prime minister said he viewed Malaysia as a robust country that could weather any challenge for as long as the government and its administrators remained committed to democracy.

“If we hold on to these principles of a democratic nation, we can fight and take on the world.

“And this has been proven when we fought back after our currency was attacked. We were able to overcome the challenge because we all worked towards a main target,” he said.    

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad attends the monthly assembly of the Prime Minister’s Department in Putrajaya May 21, 2018.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad attends the monthly assembly of the Prime Minister’s Department in Putrajaya May 21, 2018.

Dr Mahathir also asked public workers to aid his Pakatan Harapan administration that is taking over the country for the first time from the defeated Barisan Nasional, which had governed Malaysia since Merdeka.

“I hope I will get full cooperation in matters carried out by me, as long as what I am doing does not go against the countries laws and principles,” he said.

He said he hoped with the change of government, the problems faced by the country, especially financial, would be solved.

“We are confident we can overcome this problem, but we need an administration that is efficient, productive, impartial and trustable, that is my hope,” he added.

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