Tommy Thomas versus Muhyiddin Yassin: When a legal mind trumps a political mind…

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Thomas agrees with Muhyiddin, but says sunset clause could hurt LTTE case

Published: 9:59 pm

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said his move to drop charges against 12 individuals over their alleged Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam links was not meant to question Home Affairs Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s authority.

“The minister is absolutely correct. He has the prerogative to gazette or degazette any group or individual (as terrorists),” he was quoted as saying by TMI.

Instead, Thomas said he only meant to draw attention to a sunset clause in the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (Amla) which would have hurt the prosecution’s case.

In his statement yesterday, the attorney-general said the home affairs minister’s order declaring an entity a terrorist group was not meant to be permanent and under Section 66B(9) of Amla, should be reviewed every six months to discover whether there were still reasonable grounds for such an order to continue.

“It is therefore plain and clear that the law requiring an order declaring an entity a terrorist group must be reviewed every six months by the minister. If its violent actions or tendencies continue, the order stays.

“If, on the other hand, such actions cease or the entity itself becomes moribund, defunct, dissolved or disbanded, then the order should be revoked,” Thomas said yesterday.

The LTTE became defunct in 2009 after it was defeated by the Sri Lankan army.

Thomas also said the timing of when the gazette was made could also hurt the prosecution’s case.

This was as the LTTE was only declared a terrorist group in November 2014 while one of the accused was charged for activities in March and June 2014.

“It is obvious that these charges against him simply cannot stand because at that point of time, the LTTE was not even gazetted which is a necessary element of the offences.

“Additionally, an argument is available to the defence of each accused that the declaration of LTTE as a terrorist group on Nov 12, 2014, may be invalid or at least ought to have been revoked following a Section 66B(9) review of the order.”

Muhyiddin had said there were strong grounds to retain the LTTE in the government’s list of terrorist groups and that this was under his ambit and not the attorney-general’s.

https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/511876

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