CARETAKER prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has committed one of the biggest blunders and will pay heftily for it.
During his campaign speech at the Barisan Nasional (BN) political rally at Bagan Datuk recently, he revealed that he had instructed Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun to take action against his predecessor, Tan Sri Tommy Thomas, under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and defamation law, among others.
Ismail also said he had declassified the report on the investigation into Thomas’ book, which only goes to show that under the present Government, anything can be classified as OSA, and if anything can be used for one’s political mileage, it can be declassified.
What Ismail has done appears to go beyond his powers as the chief of the executive branch of the government because the independence of the judiciary is enshrined in our Federal Constitution.
Now, it becomes apparent that the task force investigating Thomas was set up mala fide (in bad faith), based on Ismail’s own admission that the task report could now be used as political “bullets” to attack Pakatan Harapan.
I believe it is clear to everyone that even though Thomas was appointed during Pakatan’s time in power, he maintains an independent view, neither supporting the coalition nor BN. Thomas is known to have also expressed his own frustrations with Pakatan.
Therefore, Ismail should not be making Thomas his punching bag during the election campaign.
Choosing to announce it during the same ceramah in Bagan Datuk, where UMNO president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is contesting, shows that he was trying to gain some brownie points.
It made me question: was the UMNO vice-president trying to kill two birds with one stone – all for political mileage with the general election just within three weeks from now – one to probably show UMNO that he is vindicating the court cluster and the other to use Thomas’ case for his political campaign?
Ismail should tell us whether it was his own idea or that of his superiors to find fault with Thomas’ book. Most of us who read the book, or at least part of the book, know this is a sad state of our Government agencies – not only in recent years but for a long time now.
As the Keluarga Malaysia chief, he should know better that people are already very fed up with the same narrative – race, religion and royalty – that UMNO and BN have continued to play since former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s era.
It is no wonder that the rakyat will once again trounce UMNO out of Putrajaya in the coming general election.
People were hopeful that Ismail, despite his lacklustre performance over the past 13 months, could at least tread on the middle ground like former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Now, Ismail will be offering another can of worms which, of course, the former attorney-general is waiting to open up for the whole world to see when he defends his case.
Because of his actions, the members of the task force are now being dragged into a lawsuit, where Thomas now alleges that “the report was published (by the defendants) with intent to harm his reputation with false and baseless allegations and in order to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass him.” – Oct 29, 2022
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.
Main photo credit: Bernama