PETALING JAYA: Attorney General Tommy Thomas decided to silence his critics by giving a speech in Bahasa Malaysia, and the crowd rewarded him with cheers.
The distinguished lawyer has been slammed for his inability to speak the national language proficiently, but a prepared speech – believed to have been to the Judicial and Legal Service Officers Association (Jalsoa) – won over the crowd, as was seen on a video uploaded online Thursday.
During his speech, Thomas thanked the Jalsoa executive committee for organising the function, as well as members who had lent their support and contributed to the activities held by the association.
He stated his belief that occasions such as the Jalsoa Hari Raya function were “the best platform” for officers from the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) and the Federal Court chief registrar's office to mingle and get to know each other.
“I hope the close bond between the officers can be further strengthened, as such solidarity would benefit us all,” said Thomas.
He also took the opportunity to announce the allocation of a permanent secretariat office for Jalsoa at the AGC building, which was greeted by another round of hurrahs from the audience.
The speech was believed to have been delivered at the AGC building in Putrajaya as part of a Hari Raya event.
When he was first sworn in as AG, Thomas acknowledged that he had to “brush up” on his Bahasa Malaysia.
“The trouble is with private practice, which I had for 42 years, dealings with clients, basically commercial clients and documents ... I have neglected my Bahasa. I promise to brush up,” he was quoted as saying then.
On July 4, Thomas led the prosecution team when former premier Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of using his position for gratification as part of a probe into money missing from state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Thomas had asked the court for permission to proceed in English, instead of Bahasa Malaysia, the national language.
Later that day, he was forced to cancel a planned press conference after a group of Najib supporters turned rowdy, demanding that he use Bahasa Malaysia in his press conference.