PUTRAJAYA, Jan 11 – Attorney-General Tommy Thomas today pledged to give equal treatment when it comes to bringing corrupt individuals to justice.
Speaking at the Opening of the Legal Year here, Thomas said his office would also not take instruction from the present government, saying the Barisan Nasional (BN) government was punished by voters in the May polls because it considered itself above the law.
“The double standard applied by law enforcement had undermined public confidence in our legal institutions,” he said.
He said the Malaysian judiciary had suffered from interference for three decades, and referred to the judicial crisis of 1988.
“What must be clear is that henceforth the new government will not tolerate any interference or obstruction of the administration of justice. The full force of the law will be applied against wrongdoers.”
He said one of the key factors in the defeat of the BN administration was the people’s perception that the prime minister and his close associates were above the law.
He added that it was the paramount duty of those representing the judiciary, government and private sector lawyers to distance themselves from acts that had brought disgrace to the legal system in the past.
“In other words, the law must be liberated from the shackles of injustice and allowed to flower, as was the intention when our Merdeka voyage began in 1957 and 1963.”
Thomas, who was a lawyer prior to his appointment as AG last year, said many of the ills that marred the legal landscape were caused by government lawyers who served the interests of their sole client, the government.
“Whether one refers to the drafting of bad or oppressive laws, the instituting of politically motivated prosecutions against persons who are not popular with the executive, the putting forward of untenable arguments in order to succeed in litigation, or the giving of poor advice to politicians and civil servants, the Chambers that I now represent must take its fair share of responsibility,” he said.
He said the mission of the Attorney-General’s Chambers was to uphold the law and safeguard the interests of the nation by providing legal advice and service of the highest quality.
“Professionalism of the highest standard must be combined with honesty, industry and a true commitment to the rule of law,” he said.