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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 — Tan Sri Tommy Thomas suggested that he could have been the attorney general for just a single day due to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s concern about Malay backlash to his appointment, according to an excerpt from his still-unreleased memoir.
In the prologue to his book, My Story: Justice in the Wilderness, Thomas said the then-prime minister made the revelation almost immediately after saying that his appointment as the AG had received royal assent.
“Despite the Agong’s decision, Tun wanted me to resign because of the scale and magnitude of the Malay opposition to my appointment.
“I was utterly astounded. Tun wanted my resignation the next day,” Thomas wrote in the prologue.
Thomas said he then agreed and told Dr Mahathir to prepare a press statement to explain the decision.
The former AG said he then spoke with confidants who tried to convince him to resist Dr Mahathir, but without success as he accepted that the appointment was the prime minister’s prerogative.
Thomas said his resignation did not materialise at the time as “we just could not make sense of Tun’s decision and therefore could not explain it.”
The excerpt of the prologue ends at this point and without identifying the “we” who were unable to justify Dr Mahathir’s move.
Thomas assumed office as the AG on June 4, 2018, after his predecessor, Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, was effectively forced out of the position following Pakatan Harapan’s unexpected victory in the 2018 general election.
His appointment was controversial due to his ethnicity and religion, with opponents of the move claiming that the AG must be both Malay and Muslim.
He left the position on February 28, 2020, after Dr Mahathir’s unforced resignation as the prime minister.
Thomas was succeeded by Tan Sri Idris Harun, the brother of Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun.
Since his resignation, Thomas has maintained a low profile save for the occasional statement addressing matters at the Attorney General’s Chambers during his time as its head or cases related to the 1MDB scandal.
A Gerakbudaya title, My Story: Justice in the Wilderness is scheduled for public release on January 30.