Dr M rebuffs claim of Tommy Thomas as Pakatan crony

Dr Mahathir Mohamad, asked about lawyer Tommy Thomas, said ‘he is a lawyer for everybody’. (AFP pic)

ALOR SETAR: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today that an Attorney-General would be appointed based on the law, and that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was obliged to appoint someone on the advice of the prime minister.

He refused to comment further on the federal government’s choice of nominee for the position. Senior constitutional lawyer Tommy Thomas has been the subject of speculation that he was the government’s choice.

The prime minister said: “We decide (on the appointment of the AG) based on the Federal Constitution and the law. The Yang diPertuan Agong acts on the advice of the PM. We are sticking to that principle only.”

The Conference of Rulers is expected to meet at Istana Negara on Tuesday, at which the appointment of a new AG will be discussed.

A public outcry has arisen about the reported nomination of constitutional expert Tommy Thomas as a successor to Mohamad Apandi Ali, who has been instructed by the government to take 30 days’ unrecorded leave.

Dr Mahathir was not asked directly about Thomas, but about claims that Thomas was a crony of Pakatan Harapan leaders, to which he responded:

“He is a lawyer for everybody. For BN also he was a lawyer. Lawyers take cases that bring them some income.”

“What is wrong with him (Tommy) being close to (Lim) Guan Eng. He is the finance minister. Why can’t he be good to him?”

Mahathir, who held a press conference here after a party meeting, had been asked about Thomas being seen to be “a crony to Lim” having represented Lim at several cases in court.

On another question by a reporter if Thomas was a secularist, and if he was afraid secularism would spread in the country, Mahathir replied: “Takda” (No).

On the issue of splitting the roles of the AG as legal adviser and that of public prosecutor, he said it was yet to be decided.

The press conference was held at the menteri besar’s residence, Seri Mentaloon, here today after Mahathir, who is chairman of Pakatan Harapan, had attended a briefing by his son, Mukhriz, who is Kedah menteri besar, on a post-mortem of Pakatan Harapan’s performance in Kedah in the recent general election.