The special task force is an unlawful body of persons having no authority in law to perform the function assigned to them.
Tan Sri Tommy Thomas has filed his originating summons against the Malaysian government and the eight members of the task force set up to investigate allegations in his book My Story: Justice in the Wilderness.
According to the summons sighted by Malay Mail, Thomas claimed the eight-man task force was set up illegally as they were not appointed under the authority of any written law, and as such is unlawful and illegal.
“The establishment of this illegal special task force to purportedly enquire into my conduct and make findings and recommendations against me is without legal basis and its conduct ultra vires,” said Thomas, adding that the task force was unlike a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) whose members would be appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and its process be transparent and open.
“Further, the illegal special task force has no power to require, direct or recommend the public prosecutor or investigating agencies to investigate ‘possible offences’. This is unlike an RCI which may require the public prosecutor to cause any matter relevant to the enquiry to be investigated.
“Thus, the first to eighth defendants through this illegal special task force have conducted themselves similarly to that of an RCI, without any legal basis. This is exacerbated by the directives given by Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to enforcement agencies to investigate the recommendations and purported ‘findings’ by the illegal special task force.
“For the above reasons, the special task force is an unlawful body of persons having no authority in law to perform the function assigned to them by the ninth defendant.”
Thomas’ book was published on January 30, and caused a public uproar resulting in some 244 reports lodged by various individuals and groups against Thomas and the book.
The special task force was formed as a fact-finding body to undertake an in-depth review and analysis of the entire book, and held no less than 37 deliberation sessions, among others to examine whether the publication of the book had potentially violated or contravened any laws or regulations applicable to the office of the AG.
It was also to determine whether the book had disclosed potential abuse of power by the author, breach of professional ethics or conduct by him.
The special task force was appointed by the Cabinet on December 22 last year and, according to then de facto law minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, had conducted 10 meetings between December 23, 2021 and April 12.
He said the meetings involved discussions and consultations with relevant individuals and government agencies such as the Attorney General’s Chambers, police, Judicial Services Commission, Office of the Chief Registrar Federal Court of Malaysia, Finance Ministry, Foreign Ministry, and the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry.
The special task force was chaired by Sarawak state legal adviser and former Sarawak state attorney general Datuk Seri Fong Joo Chung.
The other members of the task force are former Sabah state secretary Datuk Hashim Paijan, former Women, Family and Community Development Ministry secretary-general and former Legal Affairs Division (BHEUU) director-general Datuk Junaidah Kamaruddin, former judge and former senior federal counsel Datuk Jagjit Singh Bant Singh, lawyer Datuk Shaharudin Ali and lawyer Balaguru Karupiah.
Thomas has been adamant about not cooperating with the special task force. He claimed it would potentially jeopardise the independence of the attorney general’s chambers.
Tommy was the AG from June 4, 2018 until February 28, 2020. – MMO