KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has dismissed the government’s bid to quash a suit brought by former attorney-general Tommy Thomas over the formation of a task force to investigate the contents of his controversial memoir.
Justice Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh said he was “not ready” to strike out the case.
The court also ordered Thomas’s originating summons to be converted into a writ of summons case, which will allow witnesses to be called to give evidence at a trial to be held later.
“I am not saying that the plaintiff (Thomas) has no cause of action (against the government).
“He is seeking reliefs for alleged loss of reputation and violation of his constitutional rights,” Farid said, adding that Thomas’s action is based on a claim in defamation.
The judge noted that the affidavits filed in connection with the application reveal many disputed facts, adding that “a claim of such nature cannot be resolved through affidavit evidence”.
“I will refrain myself from making any determination on the task force’s validity as it has to be canvassed at a full trial,” Wan Farid said.
In his suit against the members of the task force and the government, Thomas claimed that the panel had no power to probe him. He said the panel’s findings, published last year, breached his constitutional rights.
In 2021, Thomas published his memoir, “My Story: Justice in the Wilderness”, detailing his early life, experiences as a legal practitioner and his stint as attorney-general between June 2018 and February 2020.
The task force consisting of eight members was set up by the Ismail Sabri Yaakob administration in October 2021 to investigate whether statements in the book were seditious, had exposed government secrets, or revealed any abuse of power or professional negligence on his part.
The task force concluded that Thomas allegedly had “powerful vested interests” in the appointment of judges, and that he had attempted to use “political or executive influence” to ensure that certain appointments were carried through.
Lawyer Mervyn Lai appeared for Thomas while senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan appeared for the task force and government.
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