Perak Academy hosted the launch of two books, ‘Abuse of Power’ and ‘Anything but the Law’, penned by prominent lawyer Tommy Thomas on Friday, July 29 at Cititel Express Hotel, Ipoh. It was followed by an enlightening talk on political and legal governance in a violent and dangerous world which are impacting us today.
Chan Kok Keong, vice chairman of Perak Academy, explained the objectives of the academy in his welcome address, “The answer is in two words, ‘do good’ without any thought of ever being repaid. The academy provides access to worthwhile knowledge with a personal touch. Our topics are wide-ranging, from geography to botany, from history to issues affecting our economy.”
Tommy Thomas ranks among the best of constitutional law advocates in Malaysia. Committed, charismatic and vocal, he is without doubt one of nation’s foremost lawyer and thinker, as attested to by his brilliant legal career, the breadth and depth of his dissertations, writings and talks on law, nation, institutional building, financial liberation and globalisation.
“On a simplistic level, as one looks at the new headlines, exaggerated on the internet and Facebook, anybody would think that this is a really dangerous and violent world we live in. I suggest that the reality is something different. If you look back, every century, in the last 4000-5000 years of human civilization, has been violent. What is happening today is nothing compared to genocide, colonialism, slavery, comparatively speaking,” said Tommy, who has over four decades of service in the Malaysian Bar, to the attentive audience.
“Change is constant in politics and national affairs, as it is in everybody’s life. So the big question really is, how does a society manage or accommodate change? How do you deal with change? And I suggest, in all these difficult periods, if one looks at what is happening in the UK, and you will then see a shining example of an accountable governance in functioning democracies. The people voted fairly and the prime minister respected the people’s will. Just absolutely peaceful and effortlessly,” he added, referring to Brexit.
Also present was guest of honour, P. Subramaniam, a well-known figure in the Methodist schools in the country. Commending Tommy’s two intellectual works, he said, “His presentation has been forthright, analytical and has had an attitudinal perception as in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, to be bold and resolute.”
Articulating without fear or favour on issues of immense public interest, the author takes the readers on a journey in his books to confront our fears and our hopes and to ponder on the kind of nation we want Malaysia to be. ‘Abuse of Power’ features selected works on the law and constitution while ‘Anything but the Law’ is packed with essays on politics and economics. Priced at RM50 each, it is available at all bookstores in town.