PUTRAJAYA, Jan 11 — The full weight of the law will be applied to all wrongdoers under the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, Attorney General Tommy Thomas said at the opening of the legal year 2019 here today.
Saying corruption had eaten away at the administration of justice like a cancer under the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) regime, he stressed that there would be no double standards or tolerance of interference under the new government to return public confidence in the court system.
“There is absolutely no doubt that one of the key factors leading to the defeat of then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's administration was the perception of the ordinary man on the street that Najib and his close associates were above the law.
“The double standard applied by law enforcement had undermined public confidence in our legal institutions,” he said in his speech.
Thomas said that the new legal year provides the opportunity for all those working in the court institutions to show how they can contribute to the administration of justice from now on.
“Having regarded to the expectations of Malaysians as expressed by their ballots last May, the full force of the law will be applied to wrongdoers.
“Hence the paramount duty for all of us gathered here whether as representatives of the judiciary branch or members of private Bar is to publicly undertake and pledge to each other and to the nation our intention dedication and commitment to disassociate ourselves from the actions of the past which has brought disgrace to our legal system,” he said.
He said the judiciary must therefore begin a new journey to promote justice.
“In other words, the law must be liberated from the shackles of injustice and allowed to flower as was the intention when our Merdeka voyage began in 1957 and 1963,” he said.
Thomas publicly acknowledged that many of the ills that marred the legal landscape were caused by the actions and omissions of the professional class of lawyers who were employed on a full-time basis at taxpayers’ cost by the government.
“Whether one refers to the drafting of bad or oppressive laws, the instituting of politically-motivated prosecutions against persons unpopular with the executive, the putting forward of untenable arguments in order to succeed in litigation or the giving of poor advice to politicians and civil servants, the Chambers that I now represent must take its fair share of responsibility,” he said.
He said the mission of the Attorney General Chambers was to uphold the law and safeguard the interest of the nation by providing legal advice and service of the highest quality in accordance with the Constitution.
“Our actions must match our online promises. Professionalism of the highest standard must be combined with honesty, industry and a true commitment to the rule of law,” he said.