By John Isaac
TOMMY Thomas has claimed that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong wanted to appoint Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as interim prime minister after Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned following PPBM’s exit from the Pakatan Harapan ruling coalition in February last year.
According to the former attorney-general (AG), Mahathir then submitted his own name as the interim prime minister to the King, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
This revelation was made in Thomas’ new book “My Story: Justice in the Wilderness”, which was released yesterday.
“This is probably without precedent in modern politics. A prime minister who is comfortably in power, resigns of his own free will and volition.
“Consistent with that decision, he should leave the political scene after holding the most important position in the state,” the former AG said.
He added that the appointment of Wan Azizah, who had served as deputy prime minister under Mahathir, would have been a constitutional decision.
Additionally, according to Free Malaysia Today, he wrote that Mahathir’s decision to dissolve his cabinet upon his resignation was unusual, as when prime ministers resign their cabinets typically remain.
“It must be kept in mind that Tun’s resignation was personal, only as prime minister. The resignation was confined to that office, not the entire government.”
Thomas noted that since Malaysia’s first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman resigned in September 1970, every prime minister was succeeded by their deputies.
In another part of the book, Thomas said PAS may have inadvertently played an important role in saving his job after Mahathir asked him to resign just a day after being appointed due to the Malay backlash over his selection.
“Apparently, a public statement issued by PAS that night stating that they had no objections to my appointment, especially since I had represented the PAS governments of Terengganu and Kelantan in their petroleum royalty cases against Petronas, had surprised Tun (Mahathir),” he wrote.
PAS had originally opposed Thomas’ appointment but changed its position after it was announced by the then King Sultan Muhammad V, who is the Kelantan ruler.
In the statement, party secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan had said: “PAS congratulates and wishes the new attorney-general well, and hopes he will always act according to the constitution, preserve the rule of law and be fair and impartial in his role, especially in matters involving Islam and its related institutions.”
Thomas said he got a call from Mahathir at 7.30am the next morning, who he said had reconsidered and wanted him to accept the position, assuring that he had the full support of the prime minister.