Malaysian Attorney General Tommy Thomas faced calls to resign after he dropped terrorism charges against 12 people who were alleged to have links to Sri Lanka’s Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Islamist opposition party PAS, which controls two Malaysian states, threatened a “massive public rally” if the government did not heed its demands to fire Thomas, reinstate the charges and curb the powers of the attorney general.
Thomas on Friday said there was “no realistic prospect of conviction” of the 12 people for their alleged involvement with the LTTE. Two of them were state assemblymen from the ruling alliance. Thomas said he was exercising his discretion, as allowed by the Malaysian constitution, to discontinue proceedings.
All 12 people had photos of slain LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran and other leaders on their phones or Facebook
accounts, Thomas said.
“If such conduct can constitute a criminal offence, it would bring the law into disrepute,” he said. “Ardent” online supporters should not be regarded as terrorists or planning to conduct acts of terror, Thomas said.
“Harm to Malaysians cannot be established by the prosecution,” he said.
PAS said it wasn’t the first time the attorney general had made decisions that favoured individuals connected to the government, citing examples that involved ministers and members of parliament from the ruling alliance.
The latest case is serious as it could “threaten national peace and security,” PAS said in a statement on Saturday. Its concerns were echoed by the Malaysian Muslim Lawyers Association, which said it was “very shocked and disappointed” with Thomas’s decision.
The government has enough proof to maintain LTTE on its list of terrorist organisations, Home Affairs Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in a statement on Saturday.