PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak has taken a jab at former attorney-general (AG) Tommy Thomas for not cooperating with the task force set up to investigate certain claims he made in his book, My Story: Justice in the Wilderness.
Najib said Thomas had written to the chairman of the task force, Fong Joo Chung, that he would not cooperate in investigations on allegations involving issues of appointing judges, excessive interference by the executive arm of the government in the judicial system, and selective prosecution.
“Thomas was the one who divulged (these issues) but is now throwing a fit when the government wants to investigate,” he said in a Facebook post today.
In a letter sighted by FMT, Thomas told Fong he had no intention of cooperating or taking part in the task force’s investigation of his book.
He said the task force had set a dangerous precedent and would place the attorney-general’s independence at risk.
“I have to protect former attorneys-generals and also incumbents of the post, and also all officers at the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) who must be able to make prosecution decisions in the interests of the people they serve, without fear or favour.
“My participation in the task force will be unconstitutional and will set a dangerous precedent that will burden them. This goes against the interests of the public,” he said.
Thomas said that according to Article 145(1) of the Federal Constitution, the attorney-general was appointed by the King on the advice of the prime minister.
“Under Article 145(3), the AG, as a public prosecutor, is empowered at his or her discretion to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence, save for proceedings before a shariah court, a native court or a court martial,” he said.
He also said the public prosecutor is not accountable to the Cabinet or others in the executive branch regarding prosecution.
Thomas also said the formation and existence of the task force had no legal basis and no precedents.
He was also of the view that with Fong being the former Sarawak state attorney-general and at a lower rank to the attorney-general’s position, he was “not being judged by his peers”.
On Dec 8, law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar announced that Fong, who is also the Sarawak state legal adviser, would be heading the task force to look into the allegations in the book by Thomas.
He said police would also investigate the allegations at the same time.
Wan Junaidi said the Legal Affairs Division of the Prime Minister’s Department and the AGC would act as the secretariat for the committee.
The other special officers include former Sabah state secretary Hashim Pijan, former director of the legal affairs division Junaidah Kamaruddin, former judge and AGC senior federal counsel Jagjit Singh and representatives from interested ministries and departments.
It was also reported that the task force held its first meeting on Dec 23.
Wan Junaidi said the task force would submit its findings and recommendations to the Cabinet within six months from the date of appointment.