So, there’s been a lot of talk about who our new Attorney-General (AG) will be, and one name that’s been on everyone’s lips this past weekend is Malaysian lawyer, Tommy Thomas.
The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government reportedly submitted the lawyer’s name to be considered as our possible AG, but has stirred some controversy due to the fact that he isn’t Muslim and therefore, cannot assist the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in preserving Islam in the country. According to The Star, this is seen as a breach of Article 145(2) of the Federal Constitution.
Malaysians all over the country have also been divided over this issue, as two petitions have emerged online. One petition called for the support of Tommy Thomas as our new AG, while the other called for Malaysians to reject him. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has come out to say that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong rejected Thomas’ candidacy due to concerns that he may not be an impartial AG.
With all this talk about the lawyer, it’s only natural that many of us want to know more about who our potential new AG is, and whether or not he’s qualified for the role. Well, here are some facts about him that could help you form your own opinion!
1. Thomas has been a barrister for more than 40 years
According to his profile on his law firm’s website, Tommy Thomas earned his law degree in the University of Manchester, and his masters in the London School of Economics, and has been working as a barrister for the past 40 years.
He has also appeared as counsel in the Privy Council in London, which was Malaysia’s highest court up until 1985.
2. He is currently representing flight MH370’s next of kin
Currently, Thomas is representing 76 next of kin of the Malaysian Airlines MH370 passengers, who filed the biggest lawsuit against the airline over the plane’s disappearance in March 2014.
In February 2017, the court had ordered RM10,000 in costs to his clients, and ordered the airline to provide the relevant documents detailing the flight’s disappearance to the next of kin.
3. Thomas has represented Lim Guan Eng and Barisan Nasional members in the past
According to The Star, the lawyer has also represented Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng in his corruption cases. This was one of the reasons that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong believed he would not make an impartial AG.
However, the Prime Minister has since rebutted this belief, stating that Thomas has also represented Barisan Nasional leaders in the past.
4. He has been consistently ranked among Malaysia’s top lawyers
Thomas has also been listed as one of Malaysia’s leading litigation lawyers, appearing in international law publications like The Asia Pacific Legal 500, Commercial Litigation Lawyers of Asia, and Chambers Asia, just to name a few.
5. He was Chin Peng’s representative
Former secretary-general of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), Chin Peng, led the party’s guerrilla insurgency during the Malayan Emergency period. After spending decades outside of the country, he spent his final years fighting to return to Malaysia so he could be buried in his birthplace in Sitiawan, Perak.
However, despite issuing an apology to the victims and their family members over the atrocities committed by the CPM, Chin Peng was still not allowed to return to Malaysia.
Tommy Thomas acted as Chin Peng’s representative, and called for the government to allow his body to be buried in Sitiawan, Perak. Despite the legal battle, the former CPM leader’s body was cremated in Thailand instead.
6. Thomas is also a published author
Apart from practising law, Tommy Thomas has also published two essay collections, Anything But The Law and Abuse Of Power, which dissected the constitution, religion, economics, and politics.
Anything But The Law also touches on Malaysia’s second deputy prime minister, Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, whom Thomas describes as “the best Prime Minister Malaysia never had”, according to Star 2.
So, these are just some of the things about our potential new AG you might not know about!
Do you think he’s qualified enough to get the job done? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Also read: Tun M: AG Hid Evidence of 1MDB Wrongdoing
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