Malaysia's new A-G Tommy Thomas taken aback by behaviour of Najib's supporters

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas had been criticised for supposedly having a weak command of Bahasa Malaysia.
Attorney-General Tommy Thomas had been criticised for supposedly having a weak command of Bahasa Malaysia.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said he was taken aback by the behaviour of supporters of Najib Tun Razak during a scheduled press conference on Wednesday (July 4).

"I'm a little surprised. I was expecting questions from the press.

"I never expected that (the commotion). Hopefully, it was recorded and uploaded online for posterity so that everyone can make up their mind (about what happened)," he addressed the media outside the High Court on Wednesday.

The planned media conference by Thomas had to be cancelled when supporters of Najib turned rowdy.

They chanted "Bahasa Malaysia" when Thomas spoke in English.

The crowd then shouted "Melayu" and "Hidup Melayu" to drown out his voice until he had to be escorted away.

Thomas, who leads the 12-member prosecution team in Najib's trial, had been criticised for supposedly having a weak command of Bahasa Malaysia.

 
 

He himself has admitted that he had to "brush up" on his command of the national language.

"The trouble is with private practice, which I had for 42 years, dealings with clients, basically commercial clients and documents... I have neglected my Bahasa. I promise to brush it up," he was quoted as saying.

When asked on the Bar Council's statement that the 1MDB task force has no legal standing to arrest Najib on Tuesday, Thomas said the prosecuting team was made to understand that it was the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) that conducted the investigations and made the arrest.

The High Court on Wednesday granted an interim gag order against the media from discussing the "merits of the case".

Defence lawyer Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah made the request on grounds that his client had been facing a trial by media since he stepped down as Prime Minister following the May 9 general election.

"People have been making statements as if Najib is already found guilty. I request for the court to issue a limited order that there should not be a discussion on the merits of the case.

"He (Najib) has the right to a fair trial," Dr Muhammad Shafee told the court.

Thomas said the prosecution was taken by surprise by the gag order against the media and will object the order again.

"What is the point of issuing a gag order when the whole world would talk about it?" he said.

He gave the example of the Sarawak Report and said that the website is read globally.

He also told Dr Muhammad Shafee to specify to whom the gag order applies to, to which the latter replied "the media, both digital and newspapers".

High Court judge Justice Mohd Sofian Abd Razak then granted the interim gag order and fixed Aug 8 for a hearing on the official application.