KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak will file a defamation suit against former attorney-general Tommy Thomas over parts of the senior lawyer’s memoir, Bernama news agency reported, while at least seven police reports have been lodged against the book for making allegedly unfounded claims.
Najib and his family are also considering legal options against Tan Sri Thomas, The Star newspaper reported yesterday, over a chapter that seemed to cast aspersions on their late father, former prime minister Razak Hussein, in the deadly 1969 race riots.
Former premier Mahathir Mohamad has said he regretted appointing Mr Thomas to the position in 2018, soon after the Pakatan Harapan government came to power.
Meanwhile, Mr Thomas’ former colleagues in the Attorney-General Chambers are seething over his criticism of what he claimed was the poor working attitude of public prosecutors.
When contacted by Bernama, Najib’s lawyer, Mr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, said: “Yes, we are suing him. Yesterday, Thomas replied to our letter of demand and he said that he did not defame our client.
“The publisher, GB Gerakbudaya Enterprise Sdn Bhd, has not replied to our letter.
“We are going to file a defamation suit against both Thomas and the publisher as soon as possible.”
Najib, through Mr Shafee’s firm, sent a letter on Tuesday to Mr Thomas demanding an apology and RM10 million (S$3.3 million) in damages over allegations in the book’s chapter 42, under the title “Altantuya”.
Najib had given the former A-G until Friday noon to reply, and also demanded an apology and public retraction of the alleged defamatory statements in the book.
Ms Altantuya Shaariibuu, who was 28, was shot and her body blown up with explosives by police commandos in 2006. The two men involved have since been convicted of her murder.
Separately, police have received at least seven public reports complaining against the content of Mr Thomas’ memoir, My Story: Justice In The Wilderness.
Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan lodged a police report against Mr Thomas on Friday for allegedly twisting Malaysia’s history in the 1969 race riots, and for insulting prosecutors in the A-G Chambers, Bernama reported.
Regarding Mr Thomas’ claim about the attitude of government prosecutors, the Judicial and Legal Service Officers’ Association issued a statement to say the remarks insulted its members.
It said: “Thomas’ view is very uncivilised and reflects his shallow thinking. Any dissatisfaction he felt while dealing with legal officers was uncalled for and should not be scribbled for public scrutiny.”
There is also debate in the legal fraternity on whether Mr Thomas, as the government’s chief prosecutor, has the right to publicly air his views about decisions made by the government.