KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - One of the most important positions in Malaysia has been left vacant following the resignation of Tan Sri Tommy Thomas as the Attorney-General.
There is no official announcement yet about it although he is said to have quit last Friday (Feb 28) evening amid the political turmoil that led to Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin being sworn in as the eighth Prime Minister.
In the absence of an Attorney-General, the Solicitor-General will assume the role as provided under the subsection 376(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
According to the provision, the Solicitor-General shall have all the powers of a Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) and shall act as a Public Prosecutor in the absence or inability of the Attorney General to act.
This means the current Solicitor-General, Datuk Engku Nor Faizah Engku Atek, is holding the post as an acting A-G until a new successor is named.
The question being asked now is: Who will be the next A-G?
A list has emerged from a Facebook group Peguam & Pengguna Malaysia (PPM) on possible candidates for the top position in the AGC.
The names include Tan Sri Idrus Harun (Federal Court judge), Datuk Dr Badariah Sahamid (Court of Appeal judge), Datuk Suraya Othman (Court of Appeal judge), Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera (Court of Appeal judge), Datuk Noorin Badaruddin (High Court judge) and Datuk Wong Kian Kheong (High Court judge).
Others named in the list are Datuk Mohamad Abazafree Mohd Abbas (Melaka state legal advisor) as well as lawyers Datuk Salehuddin Saidin, Shamsul Sulaiman and Kitson Foong.
According to a source from the AGC, two other names have also been bandied about. They are Kuala Lumpur High Court judges Datuk Mohd Firuz Jaffril and Datuk Nordin Hassan.
When Mr Thomas was given the two-year term, which was due to expire in June, tongues wagged as he was a private lawyer and not from the service.
Some detractors have also pointed out his weak command of the national language.
Under Mr Thomas' leadership, several high profile figures have been charged in relation to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandal including former premier Najib Razak who has six criminal cases levelled against him.
Mr Thomas also agreed to the release of Siti Aisyah, the Indonesian who was one of the two accused persons in the Kim Jong-nam murder trial.
Another accused, Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, was given an alternative charge to the murder charge and she pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of causing injury to the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Last month, Mr Thomas dropped all 34 charges against 12 men, including two DAP politicians - Gadek assemblyman G. Saminathan and Seremban Jaya assemblyman P. Gunasekaran - for allegedly having links with LTTE.
Mr Thomas has not responded to news reports about his resignation.