The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government has proposed veteran lawyer and constitutional expert Tommy Thomas as its choice to replace Mohamed Apandi Ali, who is currently on forced leave, as the new Attorney-General
The Malaysia Insight reported that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wrote to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V with the proposal more than 10 days ago, and that the decision to appoint the respected barrister of over 40 years is supported by all four PH parties.
However, Tun Dr Mahathir's suggestion has reportedly not been acted on.
Instead, the King and the Conference of Rulers have allegedly pushed for the role of A-G to be given to a Malay-Muslim candidate.
According to The Malaysian Insight, the choice of a non-Muslim A-G has reportedly prompted messages to be relayed from the palace to Tun Dr Mahathir, asking him to consider several other candidates.
A source close to the palace claimed that four other names have been recommended to the prime minister, including a former High Court judge and a serving Court of Appeal judge, The Star reported.
Contrary to some reports, the source also said that, "The King's argument is that he wants somebody who has been a judge or even a retired judge," and that race is not an issue.
Constitutional lawyers have since chimed in on the matter, arguing that the King must appoint the new A-G according to the prime minister's advice
Constitutional lawyer Dr Gurdial Singh Nijar told The Malaysian Insight that, "There is no choice. If he doesn't, for ill health or other reasons, then the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah) can step in."
Lawyer Syahredzan Johan echoed the sentiments, adding that, "The only requirement is that the person must be qualified to be a Federal Court judge."
He explained that to qualify as a Federal Court judge, a person must be a Malaysian who has served as a lawyer or a member of the judicial and legal service, or both, for at least a decade, according to Article 123 of the Federal Constitution.
Hanipa Maidin, who chairs the Legal Bureau of Parti Amanah Negara, pointed out that, "Wasn't the previous AG - who was chosen by the Barisan Nasional regime - a Malay/Muslim? But look at the damage he did to the reputation and good name of the institution of the AG."
"I want to remind everyone that this Malaysia is a country for all, not for (a particular) race, ethnic group or religion. Full stop," he added, according to The Star.
Meanwhile, netizens have also taken to social media to express their support for Tommy Thomas as the new A-G
Last month, the Malaysian Bar has proposed that its former president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan be considered for the role: