RCI members list to be tabled

KUALA LUMPUR: The list of members of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to investigate former attorney general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas’ memoir will be tabled in Cabinet, says Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the name list will be tabled by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said before it is sent to Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah for consent.

“The Cabinet approved the setting up of the RCI, but basically, a task force was created, but Tommy Thomas took legal action against the members of the task force.

“So the basis of the details contained in the task force may be backed up by the new RCI members, who have not yet been appointed.

“I feel that the Minister of Law and Institutional Reform should submit a name list to the Cabinet to get the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for this RCI to speed up their work,” he said after launching the 15th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Makkal Sakti Party here yesterday, Bernama reported.

Azalina had said the government expressed its approval for the setting up of the RCI to comprehensively examine issues related to the integrity and independence of the country’s judiciary and legislation.

Thomas’ book, titled My Story: Justice in the Wilderness, which was published in January 2021, became controversial when the former attorney general claimed to have held discussions with former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, when both were in the government, over the appointment of the Chief Justice, Court of Appeal president and Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak.

Thomas was the attorney general under the Pakatan Harapan government in 2018 but resigned after the administration collapsed in February 2020.

On Oct 8, 2021, the Cabinet set up the task force to undertake a preliminary study of disclosures in the controversial book.

Its report was issued on Sept 30 last year and tabled before the Cabinet.

The task force, chaired by Datuk Seri Fong Joo Chung – Sarawak legal adviser and former state attorney general – identified 19 important issues in the book that required the government’s attention.

Regarding the Makkal Sakti Party’s AGM, Ahmad Zahid, who is also Barisan Nasional chairman, said he would consider giving a senator post to Friends of BN.

He also called on all Barisan component parties and Friends of BN to support the government’s efforts to eradicate poverty.

“The problem of urban poverty is not only an Indian problem; the Malays and Chinese also have urban poor, so the Prime Minister’s desire to eradicate extreme poverty must have everyone’s support because this is a national agenda and not a political agenda,” he said.

Earlier, Makkal Sakti president Datuk Seri RS Thanenthiran, in his keynote speech, asked Ahmad Zahid to consider giving the position of senator to the party’s leaders.

He said this was in appreciation of the spirit of comradeship shown for almost 15 years and requested that their application to become a Barisan component partner be scrutinised.

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