Tommy Thomas replaces Apandi Ali as new AG

(FMT) – The legal firm of senior lawyer Tommy Thomas, who has been confirmed as the new attorney-general (AG), today welcomed the announcement, saying it was cause for great pride.

Lawyers Sitpah Selvaratnam, Alan A Gomez and Ganesan Nethi said throughout his career in the Malaysian Bar, Thomas had relentlessly stood by what was just and fair.

“So, at a time when our country has resoundingly voted for integrity and accountability, placing Thomas at the helm of the major institution of justice and law is a true mark of commitment to reform,” they said in a statement.

They added that while Thomas would be missed at the firm, they were delighted for the country.

“Thomas’ combined talent, integrity, legal knowledge and experience, give Malaysia one of its best and brightest barristers as its next AG.

“We wish him every success,” they said.

Early today, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V consented to the appointment of Thomas as the new AG, replacing Mohamed Apandi Ali.

Comptroller of the Royal Household Wan Ahmad Dahlan Abdul Aziz said the Agong, on the advice of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, gave his consent to the appointment according to Article 145 (1) of the Federal Constitution.

According to Thomas’ office at his firm, although he was described as a constitutional lawyer in the media, he had actually spent the greater part of his 42 years at the Bar as a corporate and commercial barrister.

Some of his landmark cases were on corporate debt and asset recovery, like Amos William Dawe and Mosbert, Lian Keow vs Overseas Credit Finance, and Bank Bumiputera vs Lorrain Osman.

Thomas recently acted for the Securities Commission against Swisscash, the worldwide Ponzi scheme hatched in Malaysia, tracing funds to banks in Hong Kong and the Jersey and British Virgin Islands, and obtaining worldwide Mareva injunctions.

The statement also said he had successfully led his legal team in two of the best known bond recovery cases in Malaysian courts, Pesaka Astana and Aldwich Berhad.

“As corporate asset recovery is topical, with the government focused on recovering the assets of 1MDB, there is no doubt in our mind that they have appointed Malaysia’s finest barrister in that field, with the knowledge, experience and industry to lead the 1MDB litigation, whether civil or criminal,” it said.

In addition to his outstanding track record in commercial cases, the statement said, Thomas had a strong public law practice, and had acted on major judicial review and constitutional matters.

A significant percentage of his practice was pro bono work for the less privileged and oppressed, it added.

“Thomas brings with him substantial trial and appellate experience, having appeared in all the courts of Malaysia, and on appeals to the Privy Council in the mid-1980s,” it said.