The vendetta against Tommy Thomas

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That the ones who are clamouring the loudest for action against Thomas are the same ones who were charged during his tenure as attorney-general should itself tell us what this is really about.

Minister of Law Azalina Othman recently announced that the cabinet had agreed to set up a royal commission of enquiry (RCI) to examine allegations against former attorney-general Tommy Thomas arising from the publication of his memoirs in 2021. In announcing the cabinet’s decision, she said that the RCI would be tasked with “finding the truth and submitting recommendations to the government to reform the country’s legal institutions and not to find fault with any particular party”.


Investigating Thomas has, of course, been a priority for UMNO president Zahid Hamidi. It may be recalled that under pressure from Zahid, former prime minister Ismail Sabri formed a special task force to investigate Thomas after an earlier police investigation failed to turn up any substantive wrongdoing.

After releasing the report of the task force, Ismail boasted that he had given UMNO plenty of “bullets” to attack Thomas and Pakatan Harapan. It was clear that the whole exercise had nothing to do with justice or real concern about some of the issues Thomas raised; it had everything to do with gaining political mileage and exacting revenge against Thomas for daring to prosecute senior UMNO leaders (including Zahid himself) for corruption and malfeasance.

That the ones who are clamouring the loudest for action against Thomas are the same ones who were charged during his tenure as attorney-general should itself tell us what this is really about.

It is no secret that Zahid and other UMNO leaders have been fighting an intense battle to free themselves from the serious criminal charges they face. Discrediting Thomas is part of their grand scheme to justify the withdrawal of all outstanding charges against them. It will no doubt also prove useful in securing a pardon for former prime minister Najib Tun Razak.

Azalina can insist all she wants that the RCI is “not to find fault with any particular party” but the objective of the exercise is clear enough, as Zahid himself made clear recently.

In remarks to the UMNO general assembly, he congratulated Azalina for winning cabinet endorsement for the RCI and encouraged her to “go all out” in probing Thomas. Continuing, he told Azalina that “if you fail (in this), then you fail Umno as a whole. If you succeed, then Umno has something good in store for you”.

Zahid’s remarks were not just in shockingly poor taste, it was a blatant attempt to bribe the law minister into doing his bidding. It shows Zahid’s utter contempt for the justice system and is a reminder of just how unfit he is to hold high office.

When Azalina announced the setting up of the RCI she pompously justified its formation by declaring that, “The government views seriously the allegations involving the violation of professional responsibilities by an individual in a top position. This is because transparency and accountability are the basis of people’s trust in the administration of justice and government institutions.”

What a laugh! When was the last time any government of ours really cared about transparency or accountability or allegations involving misdeeds by senior figures?  Indeed, successive governments have lied to the public, covered up their wrongdoings and abused their power with impunity for decades. In fact, if not for Thomas, even the 1MDB scandal might have been covered up.

In any case, doesn’t the government have nothing better to do with its time and resources? Is this the best initiative that this government can come up with after almost two months in office?

What the people who voted for Pakatan Harapan want is a government that will work to make things better for them, not one that continues to play the same old political games, that persecutes good men for doing their job while ignoring all the scandals and abuses of power that are dragging our nation down.

Surely, Malaysians expect better from Anwar, a man who fought so long and so hard and suffered great privation in his fight for a better Malaysia. Of course, we want to see Anwar succeed but if he continues to shamelessly pander to Zahid in this manner, he shouldn’t be surprised if Malaysians soon sour on his leadership.

Given the way Zahid has abused his power and is attempting to subvert the investigation of Thomas to further his own personal agenda, the Prime Minister should immediately step in and put an end to this madness. – Dennis Ignatius