KUALA LUMPUR – The Judicial and Legal Service Officers’ Association (JALSOA) strongly objected to Tan Sri Tommy Thomas’ writings on legal officers in the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) in his memoir entitled “My Story: Justice in The Wilderness”, saying the remarks insulted its members.
The JALSOA Executive Committee in a statement today said the former Attorney-General’s criticisms saying legal officers in the AGC as government lawyers who were just working for a monthly salary and pension and carrying out administrative work, were malicious and even insulting.
“JALSOA is very upset and affected by what he wrote. Legal officers whether they are in the Attorney- General’s Chambers or in the courts always carry out the responsibilities entrusted to them in accordance with the provisions of the law regardless of who is the Attorney-General or the ruling government.
“The challenges, trials and pressures in the duties of a Legal Officer have implications not for any individual and client but could affect the interests of the country and public interest in upholding the rule of law.
“We are not working to pursue individual popularity. In fact, the policy of confidentiality, integrity and professionalism emphasised in the civil service always underpins every action and conduct of Legal Officers,” the committee said.
It added that, as the former Attorney-General, Thomas should not question the ability, capability and performance of the legal officers under his short period of supervision, let alone mention the name of the legal officers in his book with scorn.
“Legal officers whose academic qualifications are on par with private practice lawyers are here to represent the government in legal disputes in court, including proceedings and international negotiations with the national interest at heart.
“Thomas’ view is very uncivilised and reflects his shallow thinking. Any dissatisfaction he felt while dealing with legal officers was uncalled for and should not be scribbled for public scrutiny. That perception is Thomas’ own creation over his failure to lead the Attorney-General’s Chambers as well as his lack of understanding of public service administration.
JALSOA further opined that Thomas should safeguard the honour and good name of the position of Attorney-General he once held, as well as the legal services institution in the civil service as provided in the Federal Constitution.