Articles, Opinions & Views: Yes, Tommy Thomas is the AG this country needs - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
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In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God


Which must always come to pass

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He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?


Have you always turned the other cheek?


To My Church have you been true?"


"No, Lord, I guess I ain't


Because those of us who carry guns


Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around


Except to calm their fears.


If you've a place for me here,


Lord, It needn't be so grand,


I never expected or had too much,


But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Yes, Tommy Thomas is the AG this country needs - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Tuesday, June 05, 2018
Malaysiakini : “The fascist elements of the state, whose main aim in life seems to be to protect and serve the interests of the ruling party, must be reminded that Malaysia does not belong to the prime minister.” – Tommy Thomas, ‘Has Malaysia become a police state?
COMMENT | Besides being a co-conspirator to the Najib regime, what Mohamed Apandi Ali is really infamous for in my book, (as detailed in The Wall Street Journal) is recommending that caning form part of the punishment for those who violate the Official Secrets Act – “At present, those who violate the law will serve one to seven years in prison. Apandi has proposed that sentence be extended to life, and that caning be administered as well.”
I will not even bother going into the details of the sacked AG malfeasance because it really just stains this article, which is about an appointment that I am cautiously optimistic. When Tommy Thomas was announced as the Pakatan Harapan choice for the post of AG, the predictable backlash from the ‘bangsa’ and ‘agama’ crowd reverberated through social media. On the other side, there was the predictable rhetoric that a person’s race or religion does not matter.
Both sides do a disservice to this country. When Lim Guan Eng, the current finance minister, blathered on about being a Malaysian as if race did not matter, it was Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail who said, "To have a Chinese finance minister is actually a very good way forward - this is integration of all the races." Dismantling the “ketuanan Melayu” ideology as the deputy prime minister conceded is a difficult hurdle to overcome and it does Malaysia no good to engage in sophistry when it comes to race relations in this country.
The same thing happened when Tommy Thomas was announced as the only candidate for the AG’s post. It is an extremely big deal that a non-Malay was chosen for the post, which is not to say - like in the case of Guan Eng - that this is merely “tokenism”, as denied by Wan Azizah when a non-Malay was chosen to be the finance minister. Tommy Thomas no doubt meets the necessary requirements but more importantly, although many would choose to ignore for various reasons, this is another reminder that things are slowing change.
Furthermore, whether there is a conflict of interest when it comes to the appointment of Tommy Thomas with his links to the political elite of Harapan is a question only time will answer. Mind you when I say time, I mean a very short time. It would become immediately apparent if Tommy Thomas is biased towards certain personalities, so what we have to do is wait. This being Malaysia, we would not have to wait long.
The rather vexatious qualifier that the new AG will protect the special privileges of the Malays and defend Islam is problematic because as the Harapan grand poobah, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, rightly points out “many who claim that they supposedly protect Islam, but we find that their actions are contrary to Islam.”
So do the ‘bangsa’ and ‘agama’ crowd have a point? Does the AG really have to defend ‘bangsa’ and ‘agama’? I put it to you that this idea of defending anything is part and parcel of the ‘ketuanan’ ideology that needs to be dismantled and that it is merely propaganda that people could be weaned off if there is a political will to do so.
I put it to you that there is nothing in the role of the attorney-general where anyone needs to defend the special rights of anyone but rather uphold the constitution in a manner which nobody's rights get trampled on by the state.
Let the man speak for himself
Whenever there is an issue with ‘bangsa’ and ‘agama’, the grubby fingerprints of the state are always around it. If the state does not condone religious extremism, the religion in question would not need to be defended. If the state does not condone and make provocative racist or bigoted overtures, the rights of a specific race would not need to be defended. If the state does not manipulate the religion for political gain, then there would not be any need for religious arguments to intrude into the civil discourse.
While there have been many public testimonials on Tommy Thomas, I prefer to let the man speak for himself. In ‘The constitution is supreme, not religion’ (Malaysiakini, 2013), he clearly articulates his position when he writes – “Neither the government nor any other authority can dictate to any person his right to choose a religion, relinquish a religious belief (with limitations for Muslims), change religion and not to be religious (whether as atheist, agnostic or otherwise). This right is absolute, entrenched and inalienable.”
Expanding on this, racial and religious issues should not be viewed ahistorically and if the state does not make an issue out of them, then we would not have these “crises” where servants of the state have to intrude into public policy and wade into racial or religious discourse/discord. See also his public comments on ‘hudud’ law – “Accordingly, any attempt to introduce hudud, even if limited to Muslims, by any state legislative assembly would be unconstitutional because in ‘pith and substance’ punishment is a matter of criminal law and procedure, coming solely within Parliament's legislative competence.”
Another example of state/federal mendacity from Thomas’ articles is his condemnation of both the BN federal government and Pakatan Rakyat Selangor state government of the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) raid of the Bible Society of Malaysia – “Finally, the Selangor state government should not have permitted Jais, as its agency and subordinate to it, to carry out the raid. Hence, both the BN federal government and the Pakatan Rakyat state government are responsible for this state of affairs.”
Here is why I am cautiously optimistic. If Tommy Thomas is the same AG as the writer who wrote passionately but professionally of the state of this country, then we have an AG that this country desperately needs. If Tommy Thomas is the AG who believes in the separations of powers and who understands – as his writings demonstrate – that for far too long this country has been run by charlatans and bigots with no respect for the constitution and this has to change, then we have an AG that this country desperately needs.
As I said, we won’t have to wait long to see if my (our) optimism is misplaced.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 1:30 PM  
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