Tommy Thomas: Special task force has no legal powers to probe my book

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Happy to cooperate with the police.

Former attorney-general Tommy Thomas said his decision not to cooperate with the special task force investigating allegations made in his highly contentious book “My Story: Justice in the Wilderness” is because the force has no legal powers.

He compared this to being questioned by the police, whom he claimed he was happy to work with as they have the authority to do so.

“Insofar as a special task force is concerned, as you know that that was set up a few months ago, but I took the position that task force has no legal basis.

Bernama

“Whereas, if you look at the police when the police questioned me, they had the legal right under the law to question people’s cause of investigating the occurrence of crime or the non-occurrence they have to investigate, they have legal powers. And I was happy to cooperate with them.

“But the special task force, in my opinion, does not have any legal powers. And I, therefore, decided not to participate or cooperate with them in any way,” Thomas said.

He said this during an online talk show hosted by lawyer and YouTuber Ang Woei Shang, which was streamed onto Ang’s YouTube late last night.

Ang had asked Thomas what legal actions had been taken against him since the launch of his book in early 2021.

“I think there were more than 200 police reports lodged, probably the first one month after the English version (of the book) was published.

“And, as a result, I was called (in)…the police said that they were very professional. They asked me a series of questions. I was accompanied by criminal lawyers, and also a lot of other people who are involved in the production of the book. So, that part of the investigations is known to me,” Thomas said.

Meanwhile, the former attorney-general briefly mentioned the defamation suit against him filed by former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, which is still pending trial.

“There will be a trial and that relates to the Altantuya (Shaariibuu) murder, which I allude to in the book,” he said.

Najib filed the suit in October last year, claiming that Thomas had suggested in his memoir that the former prime minister was directly associated with Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar in the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Najib argued that Thomas had, through the book, insinuated that he (Najib) was guilty of conspiracy to murder Altantuya, allegedly misled the rakyat over the episode and was therefore unfit to hold political or any office.

He also argued that Thomas had written in his book that the former had an agenda to murder Altantuya and had allegedly illegally influenced Sirul while the latter was in detention in Australia.

Despite all this, Thomas maintained that he had no regrets about publishing the book and added that he had expected some backlash from it.

“I expected some reaction (from the book). But to be honest, I am surprised at the venom of some of the criticism,” he admitted.

However, he claimed, some of the police reports made against him were made by individuals who had not read the book.

“Clearly, police reports where it was very clear that those who lodged the police reports did not have a chance to buy or read the book because these (the reports) were coming out so quickly after publication.

“I have no regrets (but) what I cannot understand is why people in Malaysia (are) not exercising their right not to buy or read the book.

“It is not mandatory or compulsory to read or buy the book, so it is just another obligation that can just be avoided or disregarded.

“There was really no reason for that kind of criticism and condemnation publicly,” Thomas said. – Malaysiakini