Man of the Moment: Meet Attorney-General Tommy Thomas

June 5, 2018

Man of the Moment: Meet  Attorney-General Tommy Thomas

by Hafiz Yatim

Born in 1952 in Kuala Lumpur, the father of three received his early education at Victoria Institution. He then pursued his law degree at the University of Manchester in England and subsequently received an MSc from the London School of Economics. He then became a barrister at Middle Temple, London.–Hafiz Yatim

Malaysians woke up this morning to the news that Tommy Thomas has been appointed as the new attorney-general by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V, replacing Mohamed Apandi Ali.

Born in 1952 in Kuala Lumpur, the father of three received his early education at Victoria Institution. He then pursued his law degree at the University of Manchester in England and subsequently received an MSc from the London School of Economics. He then became a barrister at Middle Temple, London.

He is a founder and partner at Tommy Thomas, a litigation firm with an office in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. According to the firm’s website, Thomas specialises in administrative law and judicial review; intellectual property; arbitration; land; banking and finance; oil and gas; commercial property; company law; securities law; constitutional law; and insolvency and wills.

He was involved in numerous landmark cases and appeared before the Privy Council, which was Malaysia’s highest court in London, until 1985.

Thomas has published two books titled “Anything But the Law: Essays on Politics and Economics” and “Abuse of Power: Selected Works on the Law and Constitution”.

Besides being a well-known lawyer, he also participated in several Bersih rallies in the past.

An active member of the Malaysian Bar, he held the post of secretary of the Bar Council from 1995 to 1997.

Among his well-known cases were Metramac vs Fawziah Holdings, and as noted by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he appeared for BN in several cases concerning election petitions.

Thomas has also appeared for the PAS Kelantan and Terengganu oil royalty case against Petronas and the federal government, and also represented Selangor government lawyer Fahda Nur Ahmad Kamar against Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) in the latter’s bid to cite the former for contempt of court.

Image result for Tommy Thomas and Tun Mahathir


Thomas also represented Malayan Communist Party Secretary-General Chin Peng in his application to return to Malaysia, and former Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in contempt proceedings filed against him by Apandi.

Meanwhile, Thomas’ law firm greeted his appointment with pride.

“He successfully led our team in two of the best-known bond recovery cases in the courts of Malaysia: Pesaka Astana and Aldwich Berhad. And as corporate asset recovery is topical, with the government focused on recovering the assets of 1MDB, there is no doubt in our mind that they have appointed Malaysia’s finest barrister in that field, with the knowledge, experience and industry to lead the 1MDB litigation, whether civil or criminal,” said the firm in a statement.

The firm noted that Thomas was an established corporate and commercial barrister, having acted successfully in some of the landmark cases on corporate debt and asset recoveries, such as Amos William Dawe and Mosbert; Lian Keow v Overseas Credit Finance; and Bank Bumiputra v Lorrain Osman.

More recently, he acted for the Securities Commission against Swisscash, the worldwide Ponzi scheme hatched in Malaysia – tracing the funds in the Ponzi scheme to banks in Hong Kong, and the Jersey and British Virgin Islands; obtaining worldwide Mareva injunctions, and what the firm claimed to be the largest reparation of funds for the victims of the Ponzi scheme.

According to the firm, Thomas had handled some of Malaysia’s largest and most complex cases, and in addition to his outstanding track record on commercial cases, he had a strong public law practice, having acted on major judicial reviews and constitutional cases.

Image result for Tommy Thomas and Tun Mahathir


“A significant percentage of his practice has been pro bono work, for the less privileged and oppressed.While we shall obviously miss him, we are delighted for our country, as Thomas’ combined talent, integrity, legal knowledge and experience, gives Malaysia one of its best and brightest barristers as its next Attorney-General. We wish him every success as Attorney-General of Malaysia,” it said.

Thomas met Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the Prime Minister’s Department at 8.30am today.

6 thoughts on “Man of the Moment: Meet Attorney-General Tommy Thomas

  1. Although i find it difficult to say this, but it has to be said.

    Credit should go to the Prime Minister of New Malaysia for standing firm on this matter.

    Credit should also be given to all Malaysian’s who ” worked ” the social media into a powerful , influential force that it has morph into.

    Without these 2 forces working in combination, this appointment may not have been possible.

  2. Kadir Jasin uses this term POLITICAL COMMISSAR to refer to Anwar’s role in this saga. Anwar must be silly to self appoint himself as such a Commissar . The constitution places power solely in the hands of the people – not the royalty or any other institution.
    Hence Anwar should remain on the side of the people . He should not allow himself to be seen as a weak leader who may someday cave in and be no better then the leader Malaysian’s toppled.

    He should also not be seen playing one arm of the government against another. If the schools have not made Malaysians smart, its obvious that the social media has. Malaysians can now see through this sort of silliness on the part of our political leaders.

  3. We all know Tommy Thomas could handle the law, no doubt, but could he also handle the gutter politics, coming whether from BN, PAS or HARAPAN itself or even sabotage from Najib’s moles within the AG’s Chambers?

    We certainly hope he could because all AGs following on from him in the future would have a role model to follow.

    All the best Tommy.

  4. Some Malay/Muslim are extremely confident to do no wrong and get away with it because they believe their ‘ orang kita ‘ in the position of power will protect them or cover up their wrong doing at all cost……this is reflected in the corruption infested and gross mismanagement of the Malay/Muslim administration.

  5. Tommy Thomas has unblemished integrity and expertise in the field he specialises, but like many highly qualified legal professionals who presented their cases well, was often an victim of the “corrupt” judgements made by judges( mostly political connected ) in the broken judiciary system.

    That needs to changed swiftly.

    With his appointment as the AG, it is hoped that judiciary system can be completely overhauled with appointments of new judges based on high integrity,competency and independence in the administration of justice.

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