PETALING JAYA: The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into Tommy Thomas’ controversial memoir is not aimed at finding fault or getting revenge against the former attorney-general (AG), says law and institutional reform minister Azalina Othman Said.
Citing Thomas’ affidavit filed in the High Court earlier this month, Azalina said even Thomas himself had questioned the legality of the task force established by former prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob in October 2021 to look into Thomas’ book.
“To me, I personally think that the RCI would have been better than the task force. The whole idea is to look at a broader picture,” she told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.
“Let the RCI stand for itself and present its terms of reference to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.”
Azalina also said the RCI was a “much better structure” as it would give Thomas the benefit of the doubt and allow him to defend himself.
“It’s not a royal commission of imprisonment or punishment,” she said.
She added that the RCI might even come out with suggestions for institutional reforms such as the separation of powers between the AG and public prosecutor.
Last Wednesday, the Cabinet agreed to set up an RCI to look into the claims in Thomas’ controversial memoir, “My Story: Justice in the Wilderness”. Some claimed that it was for political revenge.
Thomas’ memoir was published in January 2021 and drew criticism from multiple quarters, including current AG Idrus Harun, lawyers, politicians and the general public, leading to the filing of numerous police reports.
Among others, Thomas claimed in his book that he had discussions with former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, when both were in office, on the appointments of the chief judge, the president of the Court of Appeal and the chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak.
Thomas later filed a suit against the task force and the then government, alleging that the publication of the task force’s report was a breach of law and his constitutional rights.