YOURSAY | Ex-AG’s memoir: Some transparency is better than none


Modified 4 Feb 2021, 1:04 am

YOURSAY | ‘Thomas’ client was the rakyat. It was right for him to reveal what was going on…’

Haniff Khatri pans ex-AG, cites 'lawyer-client interest' in memoir content

FairMalaysian: Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla’s statement that former attorney-general (AG) Tommy Thomas should be silent on matters relating to “lawyer-client interest” is a typical symptom of hiding matters from the public.

These symptoms have long been an epidemic in Malaysia and people are just fed up to the extent that they don't trust those in power anymore. When they ask about the deal with Goldman Sachs, they were told that it cannot be disclosed to the public. These are typical symptoms of a grave disease to hoodwink the people.

Honest leaders will always disclose information to the people except on matters related to national security. Nowadays, we don't even know what things are being hidden from the public under the guise of national security. Hiding behind the Official Secrets Act (OSA), Umno-BN had in the past brought shame to this country.

Even the latest twist in the Goldman Sachs saga, the government has made us fools through a non-disclosure clause. We, Malaysians, possibly could have lost a lot of money because of these non-disclosure clauses and when we question them, they talk and behave like “thugs”.

Haniff should know one thing. All public servants, including political leaders, work at the behest of the people. The prime minister is there because of the people. He represents you and me, just like a lawyer represents me because he is learned in the law.

How much has been hidden from the public? The “donkeys” in former premier Najib Abdul Razak's cabinet did not stop him in his 1MDB misadventures. But if the public had known what was happening right from the beginning, do you think we will now be facing this pest called 1MDB?

And who is paying all the debts? We the people.

Malaysia Is Surrealist Art That Can Be Bought: Under normal circumstances, Haniff would be right. The AG needs to abide by professional conduct that includes keeping matters, especially those of high governance, confidential.

However, when a repeat perpetrator is looking to strike yet again, I believe it would be a moral duty for an ex-AG to spill and warn.

Professionalism aside, aren't we grateful for Thomas’ exposure? Doesn’t the public deserve to know the chaos that we endured actually stemmed from the actions of one sly fox?

Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin, ex-PKR MP Saifuddin Abdullah, and even the ever-suspicious ex-PKR vice-president Azmin Ali, were merely sidekicks. The real perpetrator was the man who fought so hard to be the prime minister and like a spoilt child, broke all the toys when he could not hold on to that role any longer.

To add, it was good to hear from the ex-AG himself of the findings in the death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim. If he really died from sustained injuries caused by a firetruck, as accidental and tragic as it is, his family, as well as the nation, needs to know.

Apa Nama: Haniff, it seems to me you are being overprotective of one person, namely former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Why?

If there is a breach of conflict of interest, or to borrow your term, “lawyer-client interest”, then Thomas will definitely welcome any lawsuit. I believe he is fully aware of it in the very first place before he started to write the first word in this book.

Rupert16: Haniff is talking nonsense. Thomas was the AG for the country and not Mahathir’s personal lawyer. Also, as the country’s AG, his salary/compensation was paid for by taxpayers’ money.

To cut the long story short, the AG’s client is the Malaysian rakyat. Therefore, Thomas did the right thing by telling the rakyat what was really going on with the Pakatan Harapan government, how it was undermined from within, and the “wheeling and dealing” by those in power with outside “enemies”.

RedShark6167: Thank you, Thomas. Your memoir is killing many birds in one go:

1. Exposing the real crooks so Harapan will be aware and will not fall into the same mistakes of trusting Mahathir or Pejuang.

2. To the voters in the 15th general election, you know who are playing the racial and religious cards - please do avoid them.

3. To the kleptocrats with pending court cases, Thomas was a very meticulous attorney-general and will not waste time to prosecute without clear evidence and chance of winning.

4. And for revealing that Muhyiddin’s anger about the release of the LTTE 12 was irrational and selective.

Lanaibeach: We need such stories to be told. What we want is the truth on certain events happening within the political circles. Certain issues may not see the light of day because they are hushed up under the OSA.

This will breed corruption. The powerful warlords may cover it up, letting out only a small fraction to fool the people, while the major portions are kept under lock and key.

In Thomas’ book, the former AG highlighted certain events under his watch when Harapan was the ruling party. Some will say he should stay quiet.

The book, selling like hot cakes, shows that the public wants to know more about the political events that they have, so far, only heard of.

Now we will wait for what the old man will say. The collapse of Harapan is due to him. He didn’t have to resign so quickly.

Kim Quek: I would like to dispel a prevailing public misconception - as perpetrated by Haniff in his statement - that Mahathir’s sudden resignation on Feb 24, 2020 was triggered by Muhyiddin pulling Bersatu out from Harapan.

The reverse is true, as shown in the following timeline reported by Sin Chew Daily on Feb 25, 2020 for the events of the previous day:

1.00pm - Mahathir’s resignation letter was delivered to the Agong

2.09pm - Muhyiddin announced the Bersatu supreme council’s decision to leave Harapan.

2.32pm - Azmin announced the withdrawal of 11 MPs from PKR.

3.08pm - Bersatu issued a statement stating that Mahathir will resign as party chair.

It is obvious from the above sequence of events that the announcements of both Muhyiddin and Azmin were reflex actions to Mahathir’s shocking resignation. Sensing a vacuum created by Mahathir’s unexpected resignation, they pounced on this opportunity to form the next government, starting with their pullout from Harapan.

Instead of his unilateral resignation, if Mahathir had arranged for PKR president Anwar to take over from him as pledged, Harapan would still be ruling today - under Anwar.

FairCritic: Malaysians should be thankful to Thomas for capturing all these fundamental problems that have stalled the country from marching forward to attain developed-nation status and thereby creating wealth and prosperity for all people.

The onus is now on the people to choose new, capable, forward-looking, and progressive leaders, regardless of race and religion, who can steer us towards that destiny.

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