Ex-AG ‘astonished’ when then PM asked him to step down due to opposition from Malays
KUALA LUMPUR – Tan Sri Tommy Thomas may have made history when he became the first private legal practitioner to be appointed as Malaysia’s attorney-general (AG), but not all the memories during his tenure were sweet.
According to his new book “My Story: Justice in the Wilderness”, Thomas said despite being appointed to the post by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he was later asked to resign by the Langkawi MP, who cited large opposition from the Malay population.
In the book’s prologue, the former AG recounted how Dr Mahathir first told him that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah had approved his appointment as the nation’s highest-ranking public prosecutor in June 2018.
“The rug was immediately pulled from under my feet.
“Tun dropped a bombshell. Despite the Agong’s decision, Tun wanted me to resign because of the scale and magnitude of the Malay opposition to my appointment.
“I was utterly astonished. Tun wanted my resignation the next day. The professional opportunity of a lifetime had slipped out of my fingers before I could even take a breath,” read the prologue.
The book, published by Strategic Information and Research Development Centre, is touted on Gerakbudaya’s website as “the first insider’s account by a senior Pakatan Harapan (PH) government official on the achievements, disappointments and failures of the first non-Barisan Nasional administration in the 60-year history of independent Malaysia”.
Based on a description on the site, Thomas discusses key decisions he made, including the prosecution of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, businessman Low Taek Jho (Jho Low), former 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy and Goldman Sachs for their roles in the 1MDB scandal, especially on the various prosecutions related to the scandal.
The book will only be available from January 30, but can be pre-ordered via Gerakbudaya’s website.
Before his appointment to the AG’s chambers, Thomas specialised in constitutional law, among others.
On February 28 last year, he resigned, following the so-called “Sheraton Move”, which led to the Perikatan Nasional administration taking over Putrajaya through defection of MPs.
In a brief testimonial on the book, former Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said the final chapters describe events leading to PH’s collapse, and contained information and compelling arguments revealed for the first time.
Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown described the book’s narrative as highly entertaining.
“Here, the veteran of the courtroom lays out his analysis as to why the PH government collapsed, with the benefit of many shocking new pieces of evidence that will leave the court of public opinion in little doubt over whom to hold to account.”