Selain itu, pemisahan kuasa juga boleh membuat sistem politik sesebuah negara menjadi lebih demokratik kerana menyukarkan pembentukan sebuah negara diktator. Dengan pemisahan kuasa, setiap badan kerajaan akan menyemak dan mengimbangi antara satu sama lain dan memastikan badan kerajaan tersebut tidak melebihi kuasa yang diperuntukkan oleh Perlembagaan.

Di bawah prinsip ini, badan kerajaan secara amnya dibahagi kepada tiga cabang utama iaitu badan eksekutif, badan perundang­an dan badan kehakiman. Setiap badan kerajaan ini mempunyai kuasa dan tugas berasingan. Badan eksekutif bertanggungjawab melaksanakan dan menguatkuasakan undang-undang dan dasar-dasar kerajaan manakala badan perundangan bertanggungjawab untuk menggubal un­dang-undang. Badan kehakim­an pula akan memastikan kuasa-ku­asa yang dijalankan oleh badan perundangan dan eksekutif tidak melangkaui kuasa yang diperuntukkan oleh Perlembagaan.

Di dalam kes Lim Kit Siang v. Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad (1987) CLJ (Rep) 168, Tun Salleh Abas di muka surat 386 memutuskan: “when we speak of government it must be remembered that this comprises three branches, namely, the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. The courts have a constitutional function to perform and they are the guardian of the Constitution within the terms and structure of the Constitution itself; they not only have the power of construction and interpretation of legislation but also the power of judicial review - a concept that pumps through the arteries of every constitutional adjudication and which does not imply the superiority of judges over legislators but the Constitution over both. The courts are the final arbiter between the individual and the state and between individuals inter se, and in performing their constitutional role they must of necessity and strictly in accordance with the constitution and the law be the ultimate bulwark against unconstitutional legislation or excess in administrative action.”

Di Malaysia,prinsip pemisahan kuasa di antara ketiga-tiga cabang ini ada termaktub di dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan. Di dalam kes Loh Kooi Choon v. Government of Malaysia (1975) 1 LNS 90, Mahkamah Persekutuan memutuskan bahawa: “The Constitution is not a mere collection of pious platitudes. It is the supreme law of the land embodying three basic concepts: One of them is that the individual has certain fundamental rights upon which not even the power of the State may encroach. The second is the distribution of sovereign power between the States and the Federation, that the 13 States shall exercise sovereign power in local matters and the nation in matters affecting the country at large. The third is that no single man or body shall exercise complete sovereign power, but that it shall be distributed among the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government, compendiously expressed in modern terms that we are a government of laws, not of men. ”

Prinsip pemisahan kuasa di bawah Perlembagaan Persekutuan boleh dilihat melalui Perkara 39, 44 dan 121 Perlembagaan Persekutuan. Perkara 39 Perlembagaan Persekutuan memperuntukkan bahawa kuasa eksekutif Persekutuan hendaklah terletak hak pada Yang di-Pertuan Agong dan tertakluk kepada peruntukan mana-mana undang-undang Persekutuan dan peruntukan ­Ja­dual Kedua, bolehlah dijalankan olehnya atau oleh jemaah menteri atau oleh mana-mana menteri yang diberi kuasa oleh jemaah menteri. Perkara 44 meletak kuasa perundangan Persekutuan pada Parlimen manakala Perkara 121 menyentuh berkenaan kuasa kehakiman Persekutuan.

Akan tetapi, Perlembagaan Persekutuan tidak mematuhi secara tegas prinsip pemisahan kuasa ini oleh kerana struktur kerajaan di Malaysia yang mengguna pakai konsep Westminster. Di dalam kes PP v. Kok Wah Kuan (2007) 6 CLJ 341, Mahkamah Persekutuan di muka surat 353-354 memutuskan: “What is this doctrine of separation of powers? Separation of powers is a term coined by French political enlightenment thinker Baron de Montesquieu. It is a political doctrine under which the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government are kept distinct, to prevent abuse of power. The principle traces its origins as far back as Aristotle’s time. During the Age of Enlightenment, several philosophers, such as John Locke and James Harrington, advocated the principle in their writings, whereas others such as Thomas Hobbes strongly opposed it. Montesquieu was one of the foremost supporters of the doctrine. His writings considerably influenced the opinions of the framers of Constitution of the United States. There, it is widely known as “checks and balances”. Under the Westminster System this separation does not fully exist. The three branches exist but Ministers, for example, are both executives and legislators. Until recently, the Lord Chancellor was a member of all the three branches - see generally ECS Wade and A W Bradley: Constitutional and Administrative Law 10th edn; Wikipedia (Encyclopedia).”

Pada hemat penulis, prinsip pemisahan kuasa memainkan peranan penting dalam memastikan berlaku check and balance supaya ketiga-tiga cabang kerajaan iaitu badan perundangan, badan kehakiman dan badan eksekutif tidak melangkaui bidang kuasa mereka. Mana-mana undang-undang yang tidak mematuhi prinsip ini adalah tidak menepati semangat Perlembagaan.

Penulis menyambut baik keputusan Mahkamah Persekutuan di dalam kes Semenyih Jaya Sdn. Bhd. v. Pentadbir Tanah Daerah Hulu Langat & Another Case (2017) 1 LNS 496 baru-baru ini yang telah mengembalikan kuasa kehakiman atau judicial power kepada badan kehakiman. Penulis percaya keputusan Mahkamah Persekutuan ini dapat mengembalikan kegemilangan institusi kehakiman dan mengukuhkan kembali prinsip pemisahan kuasa yang telah kian terhakis.

DATUK M REZA HASSAN ialah seorang peguam.