Trust your AG or replace him, Zaid Ibrahim tells Pakatan leaders

Syed Jaymal Zahiid
Datuk Zaid Ibrahim speaks during a press conference in Petaling Jaya February 7, 2017. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 — Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has suggested the government replace Attorney General (AG) Tan Sri Thomas after a minister criticised the former’s call to drop the prosecution of 12 Malaysians charged with supporting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The former de facto law minister took to Twitter last night to lambast Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s public rebuke of Thomas, questioning how a minister could doubt the AG’s competency.

“What kind of ministers do we have?” Zaid wrote late last night.

“You don't give a benefit of a doubt to your AG; only to an accused person. To your AG there cannot be any doubt as to his competency and judgement. If you do, then you have to replace him.”

In his exhaustive 11-page statement yesterday explaining the grounds for discontinuing the LTTE case, Thomas said he had found insufficient evidence that would lead to a “realistic prospect of conviction”.

He noted that the materials found on all 12 accused to suggest a link with the LTTE were mere images of its founder Velupillai Prabhakaran, which he said were akin to admiration that did not necessarily translate into terrorist actions.

Muhyiddin in response said the LTTE had been designated a terror group since 2014 and will remain on the list as the latest information still suggests the group remains a threat to Malaysia’s public order and national security.

Shortly after, Thomas clarified that he had not questioned the home minister’s authority in classifying the LTTE as a terrorist group as is widely believed.

The AG said he had given his reasons yesterday for dropping the prosecution of 12 Malaysians charged with supporting the group due to the likely difficulty in obtaining a conviction. Thomas had also pointed out that he only called for a review as allowed under the law, The Malaysian Insight reported yesterday.

Zaid said dropping prosecution for weak cases has been a longstanding practice in the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC).

“AG chambers has a long standing practice even before Thomas took over, not to prosecute cases unless there was a strong chance of getting a conviction,” the former minister said in a text reply to Malay Mail this morning.

“This is the practice in most commonwealth countries.”

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