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PAS insists AG must be Muslim to ‘defend’ Islam

KUALA LUMPUR — The post of attorney-general (AG) must be held by a Muslim, Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) asserted on Sunday (June 3) amid conflicting views over the government’s nomination of senior lawyer Tommy Thomas for the job.

PAS information chief Nasrudin Hassan said only a Muslim AG will be capable of advising the government on Islamic matters.

PAS information chief Nasrudin Hassan said only a Muslim AG will be capable of advising the government on Islamic matters.

KUALA LUMPUR — The post of attorney-general (AG) must be held by a Muslim, Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) asserted on Sunday (June 3) amid conflicting views over the government’s nomination of senior lawyer Tommy Thomas for the job.

The Islamist party’s information chief Nasrudin Hassan indicated that only a Muslim AG will be capable of advising the government on Islamic matters to safeguard the rights and interests of the country’s majority Muslim population.

“Islam is the religion of the federation. The appointment of the Attorney General must take off from there. Must be a person who is seen as capable of defending Islam as the country’s religion,” he said in a statement.

He said among the AG’s main tasks is as the main legal adviser to the Malaysian government.

He also pointed out that the King is sworn to “protect the religion of Islam at all times”.

“Therefore the attorney general nominated by the government to be appointed by the YDP Agong must be capable of protecting Islam on His Majesty’s behalf.

“It would be awkward if the appointed attorney general is non-Muslim or is incapable of carrying out tasks to that purpose,” Mr Nasrudin added.

He then claimed the appointment of the AG must also fulfil the wishes of the majority population who are Muslim as “Islamic sensitivities must be protected”.

He said Malaysia cannot have a non-Muslim AG as the office bearer’s view would “conflict with Islam as the nation’s religion”.

“PAS, Muslims and those who prioritise harmony and respect the Malay royal institution fully support the YDP Agong’s rejection of the nomination of Tommy Thomas to be appointed Attorney General,” he concluded.

Several media reported the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V had rejected Mr Thomas, a prominent lawyer who is well versed with the constitution as the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s sole nominee.

According to The Malaysian Insight and several bloggers close to the PH administration, the reason was because Thomas is an ethnic Indian and is not Muslim.

According to The Sunday Star, the King’s rejection is more to do with his preference for the next AG to be a member of the judiciary than his ethnicity or creed and had suggested four names, including judges from the Court of Appeal and Federal Court, to the government.

Legal professionals say the delay in appointment is worrisome as the country currently does not have a functioning AG who is needed to implement much needed institutional and legal reforms.

The incumbent AG Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali has been put on garden leave due to his links with the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal. MALAY MAIL

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