Kuala Lumpur, 6 June 2018: The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) congratulates Tommy Thomas on his appointment as Attorney General. Tommy is a renowned lawyer with years of expertise in commercial litigation, constitutional and administrative law, banking as well as company law. Tommy’s integrity and steadfastness in upholding the Rule of Law will be valuable in his contributions to nation building during this defining time for Malaysia. Tommy has already expressed that repealing oppressive laws will be one of his top priorities whilst in office. IDEAS is hopeful that the new Attorney General will conduct his duties with utmost integrity and without fear or favour.
Tommy’s appointment also highlights the urgent need for the AG’s chambers itself to be reformed. Aira Azhari, Coordinator of Democracy and Governance at IDEAS comments “The current fusion of the offices of the AG and Public Prosecutor creates a conflict of interest as the AG is supposed to be legal adviser to the government and the Public Prosecutor acts as the prosecutor in criminal cases on behalf of the Crown. When these two roles are fused into one, it is problematic when the person who needs to be prosecuted is a member of government. A separation of the two roles would entail an amendment to Article 145 of the Federal Constitution and the enacting of a new law prescribing the roles of the Public Prosecutor. We realise that the Pakatan Harapan government is committed to this reform as stated in Buku Harapan, and we urge that this agenda be brought forward in Parliament in the nearest future. Tommy himself has criticised the centralisation of powers in the AG previously, and I am hopeful that he will make this separation a priority during his tenure.”
IDEAS Policy Paper No. 34 “Separating the Attorney-General and Public Prosecutor: Enhancing Rule of Law in Malaysia” be downloaded here.