PAKATAN Harapan has come under fire from MCA following the recent declassification of a report by the special task force (STF) investigating former attorney-general (AG) Tan Sri Tommy Thomas’ autobiography.
Among others, the STF report revealed that there were judicial interferences when both Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Thomas were in power as prime minister and AG, respectively, from 2018 to 2020.
The STF report further disclosed that Thomas, based on his own accounts in his memoir, My Story: Justice in the Wilderness and witness testimonies, was involved in various offences such as alleged abuse of power and sedition.
As such, MCA National Youth chairperson Datuk Nicole Wong Siaw Ting said the authorities must take “speedy and serious action” to deal with Thomas, Mahathir and whoever else involved.
In a statement today, Wong, who is also a senator, said the duo’s actions have “seriously tarnished the image of our nation’s judiciary” and “even caused people to lose confidence in the judiciary”.
“This is no small matter which can be easily swept aside,” she noted.
She added that Pakatan, which she claimed “betrayed the rakyat” many times during their 22-month term, not only “failed to honour their promises” but carried out “severe malpractices in the judiciary”, which “render Pakatan’s deeds even more grave”.
“Considering that prior to capturing Putrajaya, Pakatan had for years extolled about an independent judiciary, such meddling into judicial authority comes as a shocker and reveals Pakatan’s double standards and hypocrisy,” she said.
According to the STF report, which was published on the Prime Minister’s Department’s Legal Affairs Division’s website on Friday (Oct 21), legal procedures on the appointment of judges when Pakatan was in power were not followed – clearly breaching judicial autonomy.
In addition to accusing Thomas of “lacking integrity”, the STF report also noted that Thomas’ decision to hire external lawyers to the tune of RM3.53 mil and appoint a former partner at his law firm to handle the Goldman Sachs case, was an “overstep” and suspected to be abuse of power.
“Probe him for sedition, making false news”
Based on Thomas’ revelations in his memoir, the STF report recommended that the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) investigate him for sedition [under Sections 3 and 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948], malicious publication of false news (under Section 8A of the Printing and Publications Act 1984) and penning false statements likely to cause public panic (under Section 124I of the Penal Code).
The STF further called for the separation of the functions and responsibilities of the AG and the public prosecutor, roles that are currently both held by the AG, so that prosecutorial powers would not be under the latter’s control and thus remain free from any form of interference from the executive.
Similarly, it said the relevant laws should be amended to remove any “semblance” of executive involvement in the appointment of bodies responsible for the selection and appointment of judges and judicial officers.
Wong said the Government ought to accept the recommendations by the STF to “repair the damage inflicted by Thomas” and restore judicial independence in Malaysia.
She added: “Ironically, all these happened under the watch of the Pakatan Government. How could no one notice nor grow suspicious at the time?”
Meanwhile, MCA spokesperson Saw Yee Fung said all controversial cases should be reviewed moving forward, including DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng and businessman Phang Li Koon’s abuse power trial on Lim’s purchase of a bungalow below market value.
Although the prosecution had applied for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) for both of the accused, High Court judge Hadhariah Syed Ismail ruled in September 2018 – just a few months after Pakatan wrested over federal power in May – that since the prosecution had asked for the case to be dropped, there should be an acquittal.
“The above judgment left the graft-fighting body stunned, as indicated by a press statement from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) which said that it was ‘very shocked’ that the charges had been dropped,” she recalled.
Saw also made reference to other high-profile charges involving Pakatan leaders or “Pakatan-leaning activists” during Thomas’ tenure as AG, such as the sedition charges against former Padang Serai MP N Surendran and political caricaturist Zulkiflee Anwar Haque (better known as Zunar), which Thomas had claimed were “politically motivated” and should be dropped.
“Thomas’ statement suggests his decision did not take into account the perspective of an independent judiciary,” she said. – Oct 25, 2022