PETALING JAYA: Should the appointment of the next Attorney General be based on merit or ethnicity? It appears that Malaysians are divided on this issue.
The two different schools of thought are apparent as two petitions have gained traction, one supporting Tommy Thomas as Attorney General and another rejecting his candidacy.
The first petition titled "Reject The Appointment of Tommy Thomas As Attorney General" was launched on iPetitions and has received over 11,000 signatures as of 7.40pm on Sunday (June 3).
Started by an individual by the moniker 'Pejuang Melayu' (Malay Warrior), the petition does not explicitly state its reasons to object the appointment of Thomas.
However, it acknowledged a The Malaysian Insight report stating that the Malay Rulers have supported the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's request for a Malay Muslim to be Attorney General.
In the comments section, supporters of the petition called for respect and trust for the King's decision.
"He is Lim Guan Eng lawyer, there will be conflict of interest happen (sic) because LGE corruption case now in court," Sorata said.
"Don't go overboard. The Malay people's patience have limits," said Rahmat Hidayat.
Hazmy Bin Jalaluddin said it was impossible that there are no other qualified Malay persons for the position.
Hours later, a contrasting petition supporting Thomas's appointment was launched and has received over 500 signatures in five hours.
"Malaysia 2.0 is beyond race. Malaysia 2.0 is all for meritocracy," the Change.org petition started by Ernest Wong read.
Supporters of this petition said the appointment should be based on merit, and not race or religion.
"It is important for us as a nation to see beyond race and religion. This country is for all Malaysians, regardless of their faith and ethnicity," Noor Farida Ariffin wrote.
The Star in its front-page on Sunday (June 3) reported that a proposal by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to appoint top lawyer and Constitutional law expert Tommy Thomas as the AG has sparked a major disagreement with the King.
Dr Mahathir is adamant about replacing Tan Sri Apandi Ali, submitting only Thomas’ name to Sultan Muhammad V.
However, the King insisted on more than one name, according to sources close to the royalty.
The Malay Rulers will deliberate on the appointment of the new Attorney General on Tuesday (June 5).