Tommy Thomas was asked to tender his resignation as attorney-general even before he could clock a day on the job – because of Malay opposition to his appointment.
The shocking news was delivered to him by then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the same day the Yang di-Pertuan Agong gave his assent on June 5, 2018 for the litigator to become the A-G under the Pakatan Harapan government.
“Despite the Agong’s decision, Tun wanted me to resign because of the scale and magnitude of the Malay opposition to my appointment.
“I was utterly astonished. Tun wanted my resignation the next day. The professional opportunity of a lifetime had slipped out of my fingers before I could even take a breath.
“Utterly dumbfounded and defeated, I told Tun that he would have to issue a press statement explaining my resignation. He agreed, provided I gave him a draft by 5pm that day,” Thomas recounted in the prologue of My Story: Justice in the Wilderness, his memoir of his 21 months as A-G.
Bewildered, Thomas found himself in a surreal situation of having to smile and accept the congratulations of colleagues and friends as word of his appointment spread. Only his family and friends knew of the turmoil behind the scenes.
Now Malaysians will know more about why Dr Mahathir changed his mind about Thomas resigning and other anecdotes of his time as the A-G, with the release of the book touted on Gerakbudaya’s website as the first insider account by a senior PH government official on the achievements, disappointments and failures of the first non-Barisan Nasional administration in history.
The book, published by the Strategic and Research Development Centre, covers important milestones such as the nuts and bolts of the prosecution of Najib Razak in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandal and several hot-button issues, such as the decision to drop charges against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam suspects.
The book will be available from January 30 and can be pre-ordered at Gerakbudaya’s website. – January 26, 2021.