Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) is investigating former attorney general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas for his allegedly racist remarks during a forum last month where he claimed that “the Malay government has failed”
PDRM secretary Datuk Noorsiah Mohd Saaduddin said Thomas will be called in for questioning, along with Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) chairman Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj to assist in the investigation.
Thomas, on 17 September, told an audience of about 100 people at the forum titled ‘Dark Forces Towards GE15’ at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall that the Opposition should use the narrative of a “failed Malay government” in their campaign for the upcoming 15th General Election.
He was referring to the two last administrations — Perikatan Nasional (PN) and Barisan Nasional (BN) — that came to govern after the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration.
Thomas claimed that both PN and BN symbolised the failure of Malay-dominated governments.
“The last two and a half years, you have had a Cabinet that is absolutely dominated by the Malays. Two and a half years later, you have objective grounds to ask the question: Is a Malay government more efficient and better? Are you kidding? They have just done such a bad job in governance,” he reportedly told the forum.
Michael Jeyakumar was a panellist at the forum.
Photo of Tommy Thomas at the forum titled ‘Dark Forces Towards GE15’ organised by the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
Image via Yusof Mat Isa/Malay Mail
PDRM said that both Thomas and Michael Jeyakumar are accused of making allegedly racist and insensitive remarks during the forum
“We will call them to record their statements soon. They will also be investigated under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998,” Bernama quoted Noorsiah as saying last night, 18 October.
She shared that Bukit Aman’s Classified Crime Investigation Unit (D5) under the Criminal Investigation Department has already initiated an investigation under Section 505(c) of the Penal Code.
Section 505(c) prohibits making “statements conducing to public mischief” with intent to incite or which is likely to incite one class or community of people to commit an offence against another other class or community of people. Those found guilty can be jailed for two years or slapped with a fine, or both.
Meanwhile, PSM deputy chairperson S Arutchelvan has criticised the probe, saying it goes against the principle of freedom of expression
According to Arutchelvan, Thomas and the other speakers at the forum were entitled to their opinions
“The police action is yet another waste of public funds. They should instead spend our tax money on better things for the benefit of the people and not entangle themselves in the political vendetta of certain quarters,” he said, adding that summoning those who spoke at a public forum went against the spirit of free speech and freedom of expression, which are protected by the Federal Constitution.
A file photo of PSM deputy chairperson S Arutchelvan.
Image via Iqmal Haqim Rosman/New Straits Times