AG says taken by surprise over bid for gag order

KUALA LUMPUR: Attorney-General (AG) Tommy Thomas today said prosecutors were taken by surprise over the gag order sought by the lawyers of former prime minister Najib Razak on his charges of criminal breach of trust and abuse of power.

“We are against it in principle because it is against free speech.

“Also, we won’t know how wide the scope is and whether the court has jurisdiction to determine what should be the elements,” he said at a press conference today.

Thomas added that they would make a formal objection to the gag order on Aug 8, when the case is mentioned.

Earlier today, High Court judge Sofian Abd Razak ordered a temporary gag order on Najib’s case until the next court date.

Najib was granted bail of RM1 million after claiming trial.

When asked if the gag order meant that no news reports could be made about Najib’s case, Thomas said it was only limited to SRC International.

“You can consult the lawyers out there and let them tell you about your rights,” he said, adding that the media could report on what had transpired in both the High Court and Sessions Court today.

Thomas was earlier forced to cancel his media conference at the lobby of the court complex after a group of Najib‘s supporters jeered at him and demanded that he speak in Malay.

“I hope it (the incident) was recorded,” Thomas said.

Thomas, who was a civil lawyer before his appointment as AG last month, has been criticised for his poor command of Malay.

His command of the national language was among the issues raised by his critics when he was named to replace Mohamed Apandi Ali as the new AG.

He had promised to brush up on his Malay after receiving the criticism.