One of the most important positions in the country is seemingly vacant, following the news of Tan Sri Tommy Thomas’ resignation as the Attorney General.
Thomas was said to have tendered his resignation on Friday (Feb 28) evening, in the midst of the political turmoil which saw Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin being sworn in as the eighth Prime Minister.
At the time of writing, no official announcement has been made on Thomas’ resignation.
Normally, in the absence of an Attorney General (AG), the Solicitor General will assume the role of the AG as provided under subsection 376(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
According to the provision, the Solicitor General shall have all the powers of a deputy public prosecutor (DPP) and shall act as a public prosecutor in the absence or inability of the Attorney General to act.
This means the current Solicitor General, Datuk Engku Nor Faizah Engku Atek, may hold the post as acting AG until a new successor is named.
With news of the resignation, all eyes are also turning to who would be the next AG.
A list has emerged from a Facebook group Peguam & Pengguna Malaysia (PPM) on possible candidates for the top position in the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC).
The names include Tan Sri Idrus Harun (Federal Court judge), Datuk Dr Badariah Sahamid (Court of Appeal judge), Datuk Suraya Othman (Court of Appeal judge), Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera (Court of Appeal judge), Datuk Noorin Badaruddin (High Court judge) and Datuk Wong Kian Kheong (High Court judge).
Other names included in the list are Datuk Mohamad Aabazafree Mohd Abas (Melaka state legal advisor), as well as lawyers Datuk Salehuddin Saidin, Shamsul Sulaiman and Kitson Foong.
According to a source from the AGC, two names have also come up for consideration.
They are Kuala Lumpur High Court judges Datuk Mohd Firuz Jaffril and Datuk Nordin Hassan.
Thomas’ two-year appointment, which was supposed to expire in June, had left tongues wagging, as he was a private lawyer and not from public service.
Some detractors have also used his weak command of the national language as a sticking point.
Under Thomas’ leadership, several high profile figures have been charged in relation to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal including Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who has six criminal cases levelled against him.
Thomas also agreed to the release of Indonesian Siti Aisyah, one of the two accused persons in the Kim Jong-nam murder trial.
Another accused, Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, was given an alternative charge to the murder charge and she pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of causing injury to the deceased.
Last month, Thomas dropped all 34 charges against 12 men, including 2 DAP state lawmakers – Gadek assemblyman G.Saminathan and Seremban Jaya assemblyman P. Gunasekaran – for allegedly having links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam terrorist group.
Thomas has not responded to news reports of his resignation.