PUTRAJAYA (Jan 11): Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said today the full force of the law would be applied to wrongdoers.
In his speech at the Opening of the Legal Year 2019, he said the new government would not tolerate any interference or obstruction of the administration of justice.
"The administration of justice has not been immune from the cancer of corruption which spread in the conditions created by the former government," he said.
Thomas said it was no doubt that one of the key factors leading to the defeat of the Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak administration was the perception of the ordinary man in the street that the then prime minister and his close associates were above the law.
"The double standard applied by law enforcement had undermined public confidence in our legal institutions," said Thomas in his first address as the top prosecutor and legal advisor for the government.
Thomas urged parties in the administration of justice to begin a new journey to promote justice and reject injustice.
He said it was the paramount duty for representatives of the judicial branch, the public sector lawyers acting for the executive branch of the government and members of the Private Bar to publicly undertake and pledge to each other, and to the nation, their intention, dedication and commitment to disassociate themselves with the acts and omissions of the past decades which have brought disgrace to the legal system.
"The law must be liberated from the shackles of injustice and allowed to flower, as was the intention when our Merdeka voyage began in 1957 and 1963," he said.
He said that when the history of Malaysia was written, scholars would regard the outcome of the 14th general election (GE14) on May 9, 2018, as a landmark event, a turning point in the nation's evolution into a truly functioning democracy.
Thomas said it was the responsibility and duty of parties in the administration of justice, as professionals and guardians of the rule of law, to contribute to the improvement of the administration of justice in the nation.
Thomas acknowledged that many of the ills that marred the legal landscape were caused by the actions and omissions of the professional class of lawyers who were employed on a full-time basis at taxpayers' cost by the executive branch to serve the interests of their one client, the government.
"Whether one refers to the drafting of bad or oppressive laws, the instituting of politically motivated prosecutions against persons who are not popular with the executive, the putting forward of specious or untenable arguments in order to succeed in litigation or the giving of poor advice to politicians and civil servants, the Chambers (Attorney-General Chambers) (AGC) that I now represent must take its fair share of responsibility," he said.
He said the AGC's task would be to act on the lofty ideals of its mission to uphold the law and safeguard the interest of the nation by providing legal advice and service of the highest quality, efficiently, fairly and equitably in accordance with the Federal Constitution and the law.
"Professionalism of the highest standard must be combined with honesty, industry and a true commitment to the rule of law," he said.