Ex-AG Thomas' lawsuit to be heard as civil suit

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has ordered the originating summons (OS) filed by former attorney general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas over the investigations launched against his memoir titled "My Story: Justice in the Wilderness" to be converted into a civil suit.

Justice Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh said that the nature of the claim made by the plaintiff which involved defamation matters cannot be resolved by way of affidavit evidence.

“I’m not prepared to strike out this suit, however, I'm directing that this OS be converted to the civil suit for the matter to be heard and disposed of in the full trial.

“I will now seek direction from the managing judge as to which civil court to be transferred to since the matter will be heard by the judge of the civil division,” Justice Wan Ahmad Farid said in his ruling in relation to the striking out application by the government and a special task force (STF) against Thomas via online platform on Monday (Oct 2).

Following the conclusion, he said he would also seek direction from the managing judge as to which civil court would be hearing the case.

“I will refrain from making any determination on the constitutionality or legality of the STF.

“It has to be conversed at the civil court. There should be no order as to cost,” the judge added.

In his originating summons, Thomas, who was the AG from 2018 to 2020, claimed the publication of the report violated Sections 499 and 500 of the Penal Code and/or Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

He also sought a declaration that the publication of the report by the government violated his right to his reputation as protected by Articles 5(1) and 13(1) of the Federal Constitution.

The Cabinet set up the STF on Oct 8, 2021, to conduct a study on the revelations contained in the book.

On Oct 13 last year, the government declassified the STF’s report, which recommended among others that Thomas be investigated for possible offences.

Thomas filed the suit on Oct 27, 2022, naming STF chairman Datuk Seri Fong Joo Chung, seven other members of the team and the government as defendants.

Besides Fong, the STF comprised Datuk Seri Hashim Paijan, Datuk Dr Junaidah Kamaruddin, Datuk Jagjit Singh Bant Singh, Datuk Shaharudin Ali, K. Balaguru, Farah Adura Hamidi and Mohd Najib Surip.

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