Malay rights, Islam’s position an initial concern with Tommy Thomas’ appointment, says Anwar

Anwar said Dr Mahathir’s statement on the government’s position helped to alleviate concerns among the Malays. ― Bernama pic
Anwar said Dr Mahathir’s statement on the government’s position helped to alleviate concerns among the Malays. ― Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — The biggest hindrance faced in appointing Tommy Thomas as Attorney General (AG) was the fear that Malay rights and the position of Islam would be affected, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said.

In an interview with Astro Awani today, Anwar said the concern was also raised by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V.

“It is true the worry was there. People were more worried about what it said concerning Pakatan Harapan’s stance, that it was being led by DAP, that Malay special rights would be belittled.

“The Malay rulers had made it known they did not want the special rights to be belittled, and I told them I agreed with them, and explained they would never be threatened,” he said.

“We then had to explain to the Agong our intentions and stance for reform, and stated clearly that the special rights of the Malays would not be affected,” he added.

Anwar said he believed the majority of urban Malays had no issue with Thomas’ appointment, stating that social media had played a big part in determining public opinion.

“The early negative perception of those in the urban areas was also there, but the city folk are more open, and many views had come through social media,” he explained.

Anwar added the worry among semi-urban and rural Malays existed both before and after the appointment, forcing Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to make a statement on the government’s position.

“They did worry that their position was threatened, but the prime minister came out and made a statement about the government’s stance on Islam being the official religion to ease the tension,” he said.

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