An Indian origin top lawyer has been appointed as the new Attorney-General in Malaysia. The country's Council of rulers chose Tommy Thomas at the helm of legal affairs in the country on June 5.
Thomas will replace the former Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali and is the first non-Muslim to hold the position ever since the nation was formed in 1963, reports Indian Express. The historic decision to appoint Thomas was proposed by the newly-elected 92-year-old Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad.
"The appointment will preserve the special rights of the Malays and Bumiputera (sons of the soil) and the status of Islam as the religion of the federation," palace official Wan Ahmad Dahlan Abdul Aziz said in a statement.
Soon after Thomas was appointed, Malaysia's ethnic Malay majority staged protests in the capital. The Malay community makes up around 60 percent of the total population of around 32 million people. The protestors were reportedly against the prime minister's recommendation to appoint Thomas as the new AG, as it triggered racial tensions in Malaysia.
Thomas will be heading the prosecution of those in connection with the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) political scandal that rattled the nation. One of those in connection with the case was former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak who was accused of money laundering.
Although Razak was cleared off all the charges by the former AG, the current prime minister has asked to reopen the case if there is enough evidence, the daily reported.
All you need to know about Tommy Thomas
- Tommy Thomas, an Indian origin Christian was born in 1952 in Kuala Lumpur.
- He is the first non-Muslim to hold the post of Attorney-General in Malaysia.
- He has been working in law for over four decades and has been one of the top lawyers in Malaysia.
- Thomas, a published author, had also worked as an editor for Insaf from 1984 and 1987.
- He had played a key role in the country's largest litigation involving Malaysian Airline MH370.
- Thomas' role will be integral in the prosecution of those in connection with the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) political scandal.