Attorney General, Tommy Thomas, on the 31st of August, announced the appointment of two heavy weighted lawyers as the prosecutors for the former Prime Minister, Najib Razak’s criminal case.
Read about our reports on the development of the 1MDB saga here.
The Attorney General explained that due to the onerous commitments as the chief legal officer in the administration, he cannot give 100% attention to Najib’s prosecution.
This isn’t the first time when the Attorney-General Chambers engage an external lawyer to represent the government in a court proceeding.
Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Shafee Abdullah was appointed to lead the prosecution team in the appeal against Anwar Ibrahim’s acquittal in the sodomy case.
So who are these two big shots?
Datuk Haji Sulaiman Abdullah
Datuk Haji Sulaiman Abdullah was admitted to the Malaysian Bar in the year 1969.
He was the President of the Malaysian Bar from the year 2000 to 2001. He also held the position of the Secretary in the legal body from 1993 to 1995.
Throughout 49 years of his legal career, he has appeared in many high profile cases including the Perak constitutional crisis in 2009 where he was the lead counsel for Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin. Nizar who was trying to reclaim his position as the Menteri Besar.
However, the Federal Court eventually ruled that Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir was the legitimate Menteri Besar in his term.
Datuk Haji Sulaiman Abdullah also represented the federal and state authorities in many high profile cases involving religion and constitutional issues.
He was the counsel for the Director-General of the Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS) and the Enforcement Chief of JAIS in the judicial proceeding for the raid of ZI Publications’ office.
During the raid in Merchant Square, Petaling Jaya, JAIS seized 180 copies of a book titled ‘Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta‘ and arrested the Director of ZI Publications, Mohd Ezra bin Mohd Zaid.
Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram
Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram was called to the English Bar by the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn in 1969. He was then admitted to the Malaysian Bar in 1970.
He was the first member of the Bar to be elevated directly as a Court of Appeal judge in the history.
Dubbed as the Malaysian Lord Denning, Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram had written many impactful judgments when he was on the bench.
FYI, If you paid attention in your land law class, you would have come across the case of Boonsom Booyanit where a Thai lady lost her land title because of a forged signature.
In this landmark case, Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram wrote a bold judgment in saying that lower courts have the liberty to disregard higher courts’ decisions which are wrongly decided.
In another high profile case where a 12-year-old boy killed his tuition teacher’s daughter and was detained at the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram presided in the Court of Appeal proceeding where he ruled that section 97(2) of the Child Act 2001 was unconstitutional.
Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram said in his judgment that courts must have exclusive power to convict a person and impose punishment.
Leaving the responsibility of sentencing to the rulers is in contrary to the doctrine of separation of powers which makes section 92(2) unconstitutional.
So to say that the AG Tommy Thomas is pulling out the big guns would be putting it lightly. Now, let’s just prepare those popcorns and wait for proceedings to commence.
What do you think about the appointment of external lawyers as the prosecuting officers for the 1MDB case?
Do you think such an appointment is necessary or the prosecuting role should be played by the AGC?