KUALA LUMPUR: Former Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik has urged Attorney-General Tommy Thomas to choose either prioritising national security or quit his post.
His statement follows the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) decision yesterday to drop all charges against 12 people who were accused of supporting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
“The power to list a group as a terrorist organisation or not, lies within the jurisdiction of the Home Ministry.
“For as long as that (listing) is unchanged by the Home Minister, it should be maintained as a decision that had been reached by a responsible government for the sake of national security, and done through government agencies and bodies such the police,” he said in a statement this evening.
When elaborating, Maszlee said Thomas’ decision to drop charges on the 12 men, who were previously charged in court, was based on decisions made by the Australian and Sri Lankan governments.
“However, national security is the responsibility of the government, via the Home Ministry.
“The failure of the Attorney-General to consider a previous government policy prior to reaching his decision is not only wrong, but against the role of the Attorney-General who acts as the main legal advisor of the federal government.”
Today, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin responded to the AGC’s decision by saying that the ministry has solid basis to keep the LTTE group on the country’s terror list as it still possess ideologies that could pose a threat to public order and national security.
Maszlee, who is Simpang Renggam member of parliament, pointed out there was a difference between playing the role of Attorney-General as opposed to the role of a public prosecutor.
However, he said that even if Thomas was acting in his capacity as a public prosecutor, he should not turn his back against government policy.
Maszlee then referred to the time when the 12 men in LTTE case had referred constitutional issues on bail at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Nov 29 last year.
“We can see it, as in the example of when there was a challenge made against the constitutionality of Section 13 of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) in court; and when the deputy public prosecutors conceded to arguments given by defence lawyers, who did not have any deep analysis (of the matter).
“I was grateful there were two High Court judges who rejected the challenge.
“I urge the Honourable Tan Sri Tommy Thomas to return to adhering to government policy and prioritise national security, or let go of your position as Attorney-General,” said Maszlee.
In that proceeding, High Court Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali declared that Section 13 of Sosma was ultra vires to Articles 8 and 121 of the Federal Constitution.
Nazlan in his judgment said the judicial powers or the power to adjudicate in civil or criminal matters were exclusive of the courts.