Tommy Thomas sues task force, govt for publishing report on his memoir
(FMT) – Former attorney-general (AG) Tommy Thomas has filed a suit against a special task force and the government alleging that their publication of a report on his memoir was a breach of law and his constitutional rights.
Thomas, who held office between June 2018 and February 2020, named task force chairman J C Fong, and its members Hashim Paijan, Junaidah Kamarruddin, Jagjit Singh Bant Singh, Shaharudin Ali, K Balaguru, Farah Adura Hamidi, and Najib Surip, as defendants.
He wants a declaration that the task force is an unlawful body and has no legal authority to perform the function assigned to it by the government, which he also named as defendant.
Thomas also wants a declaration that the purported report titled “Laporan Pasukan Petugas Khas – Siasatan Ke Atas Dakwaan-Dakwaan Dalam Buku Bertajuk My Story: Justice In The Wilderness” produced by the task force is an illegal document and not authorised by law.
In the originating summons filed by law firm Messrs Tommy Thomas today, he said the publication violates Sections 499 and 500 of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
He wants a declaration that the government’s publication of the report violates his right to reputation which, he says, is protected by Articles 5(1) and 13(1) of the Federal Constitution.
Thomas is asking for compensation from all the defendants if the court finds that his constitutional rights have been breached.
He also wants aggravated and exemplary damages from the task force members to be paid by each of them personally.
Thomas has also filed an affidavit in support of the suit.
Mervyn Lai, a member of Thomas’s legal team, said the court papers were served to the Attorney-General’s Chambers this afternoon.
Thomas’ book was published in January last year.
Its controversial contents drew criticism from multiple quarters including current AG Idrus Harun, lawyers, politicians and the general public, leading to the filing of numerous police reports.
On Oct 8 last year, the Cabinet established the task force to undertake a preliminary study of disclosures made by Thomas in the book.
On Dec 22, the Cabinet approved the task force’s terms of reference which involved investigating allegations about the judiciary, exposure of government secrets, abuse of power, professional negligence and seditious statements.
The task force sat between Dec 23 last year and Aug 25.
According to the report, Thomas had by a letter dated Jan 5 this year said that he would neither cooperate nor participate in the task force’s inquiry.
The Bar Council was also invited to participate, but declined.
In September, the task force’s report was tabled before the Cabinet.
Shortly after that, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement that Thomas would be investigated for sedition and various other offences as recommended in the report.
The report was made public last Friday.