Feel free to criticise, says new AG Tommy

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas says he will carry out his duty without interference or favouring any one party. (Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: Newly appointed Attorney-General (AG) Tommy Thomas today said he was open to receiving criticism from anyone, adding that it was all part of free speech.

“If you value free speech, then you must practise free speech, and free speech means everybody can criticise you.

“So I am happy for everybody to criticise me. In fact, I would rather listen to criticism than to praise and good things.

“So please, carry on, because if you value free speech, you must criticise,” he told reporters on his first day at the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) here.

He was responding to questions on the backlash from some who wished for a Malay Muslim to be appointed as AG.

Thomas said he would carry out his duty without favouring any one party, declining to comment on the manner in which his predecessors had operated.

“I can’t comment on the past,” he said. “(But) I can comment on what I will do – I will carry out my work without interference.”

Separation of powers

Thomas said for decades, the Bar Council had maintained its stand on the need to separate the role of the public prosecutor from that of the AG.

“That is my personal position, which is consistent with that of the Bar. So I’m very happy that the reforming government which I now serve has adopted that, and we will work towards that.”

Adding that there would be a process of separation, he said he would be guided by the AGC in the matter.

As it was only his first day, he said, he could not provide a time frame for this to be achieved.

“I am still an outsider, and I can only answer questions from the outside. In a few minutes, I will be an insider, and I will be briefed,” he told reporters before entering his office.