KUALA LUMPUR (March 3): Another key vacancy in the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) could happen in less than four months following the resignation of Tan Sri Tommy Thomas on Friday (Feb 28).
Solicitor-General Datuk Engku Nor Faizah Engku Atek — who is currently the no. 2 in the AGC and acting AG, according to reports — turns 60 in July, said the chambers’ website.
She would have to retire by then, which means that the two top posts in the AGC could be vacant in a matter of months, if a successor to Thomas is not identified and appointed soon.
However, some quarters in legal circles have questioned whether Thomas’ resignation has been accepted by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Billah Shah, as this was a constitutional appointment.
Last Friday, Thomas tendered his resignation to interim Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, four months before the expiry of his two-year contract.
In a Bernama report today, CUEPACS president Adnan Mat proposed that the next AG be appointed from the civil service.
This comes as Thomas was plucked from private practice while his predecessor Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali was a Federal Court judge.
Adnan said there were civil servants of calibre in the existing legal and judicial services who would have extensive experience and knowledge to advise the government.
“Furthermore, they (members of the civil service) have always adopted a neutral stance in carrying out their duties for the people and the nation,” he said.
If CUEPACS has its way, Solicitor-General II Datuk Siti Zainab Omar could be one such candidate, making her the second woman to be appointed as the AG after Tan Sri Ainum Mohd Saaid.
Already, there are calls that the next AG should be a Malay and several candidates have been mentioned, including Federal Court judge Tan Sri Idrus Harun, who was formerly Solicitor-General.
Idrus is the brother of Election Commission chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun.