Najib to sue Tommy Thomas for defamation, contempt

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Najib Razak is prepared to take two courses of action this week against Tommy Thomas over the former attorney-general’s memoir, My Story: Justice in the Wilderness.

Najib’s defence lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said his client planned to sue Thomas for defamation and for contempt of court.

“We have got until Friday to fine tune the defamation suit,” Shafee told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur High Court complex today.

“The defamation suit is a definite; the other is possibly contempt, which we are 98% confirmed (to cite Thomas for).”

Shafee said pointed to a chapter in the book where Thomas wrote that he sent a senior deputy public prosecutor (DPP) to Sydney, Australia for probe into the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder.

“That is not a DPP’s job, and the AG himself ordered it. This is clear admission in his book, and I will ask the judge to consider the book as evidence,” Shafee said.

“The case is over and Najib has not been implicated. This is a clear case of defamation.

“(But Thomas) said he believed the statutory declaration of the two police officers (Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar and Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri).”

Shafee was referring to the two Special Action Force officers convicted of the Mongolian model’s murder. Azilah is on death row in Kajang Prison while Sirul in 2015 fled to Australia, where he is detained at an immigration centre.

From jail, Azilah has accused Najib of masterminding the murder. Sirul in 2016 had cleared Najib of the murder in a video recording.

Najib was never brought to court for the murder despite being linked to the case.

Lawyers acting for Altantuya’s family want a fresh probe following Azilah’s latest revelation in his explosive statutory declaration.

Shafee said Thomas was essentially saying in his book, “I don’t care what the court said, I believe in these two convicts and that Najib instructed the murder”.

“This is contempt because you are disrespecting the court. A hundred years from now, readers will feel the judiciary may have been corrupt.

Miera Zulyana

“He (Thomas) insulted the credibility of the court which makes it a fresh proceeding. It is scandalous.”

On Feb 2, Najib issued a letter of demand (LoD) to Thomas seeking a public apology and RM10 million in damages for implicating him in Altantuya’s murder in one of the chapters in the book.

Thomas in his reply to the LoD denied having defamed Najib.

Besides Najib, Thomas’ predecessor Mohamed Apandi Ali and former solicitor-general III Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria have lodged police reports over the issue.

The police have received over a hundred police reports over the memoir, with investigations being carried out by the Classified Criminal Investigation Unit.

The police probe is being done under Section 500 of the Penal Code for defamation, Section 8 of the Official Secrets Act 1972, and Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948.

It was reported that the Home Ministry is scrutinising the contents, raising the possibility that the book could be banned.

Thomas’ successor Idrus Harun had also criticised the book, calling it an “insult to the institution of law”.

Thomas’ lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo said that her client has pledged to cooperate in investigations.