No conflict of interest in appointment of lawyer to handle Equanimity case: AG

PETALING JAYA: Attorney-General Tommy Thomas (pix) has defended the appointment of a lawyer from his former law firm to handle the Equanimity case in court.

In a statement today, he said that Sitpah Selvaratnam is one of Malaysia's best leading shipping lawyers who has also served as the Bar Council's Shipping and Admiralty Law Committee chairman.

“It must be kept in mind that these legal proceedings (regarding the Equanimity) are brought for the benefit of Malaysia. Accordingly, we are entitled to Malaysia's best shipping lawyers.

“There is no question of conflict of interest because we are all on the same side. It is neither right nor sensible for Malaysia to be deprived of the services of Ms Selvaratnam merely because I was in the firm where she has been a consultant for the past eight years.

“The decision to appoint Ms Selvaratnam was mine, and mine alone because I have trust and confidence in her ability and integrity.

“The real test of Ms Selvaratnam's experience and not expertise would come into play, if and when, Jho Low or any other party applies to set aside the warrant of arrest. The argument would then be vigorously put forward by all sides when the Court hears the matter on its merits, and it is critical that Malaysia has the best barristers.

“Litigation is dynamic: unpredictable events occur in Court, and Malaysia's case must be in safe hands,” he said.

He added that Sitpah is not being paid any fees.

He was responding to Umno Youth young lawyers' secretariat Nik Saiful Adli Burhan who questioned the reasons behind the appointment of Thomas' former law firm on the matter.

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