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Malaysia PM orders misconduct probe into former attorney-general

FILE PHOTO: Former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob waves to members of the media before departing for a meeting with the King, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, August 19, 2021. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Friday ordered a probe into possible misconduct by a former top prosecutor who had brought corruption cases against several senior members of his ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party.

Tommy Thomas, who served as attorney-general between 2018 and 2020, will be investigated for sedition, unauthorised disclosure of government secrets, and abuse of power, the prime minister said in a statement.

Ismail Sabri has faced pressure from some UMNO members to investigate Thomas, who detailed in a memoir last year some of the key decisions he made during his tenure as attorney-general.

These included bringing graft charges against UMNO president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and the now-jailed ex-premier Najib Razak, among others.

Ahmad Zahid and Najib, who deny wrongdoing, have said the charges against them were politically motivated. Both men remain highly influential and were among the party members calling for the probe into Thomas.

Thomas declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

The probe comes as Ismail Sabri faces separate demands from UMNO to call for early polls to capitalise on its success in recent local elections.

UMNO was voted out amid widespread graft allegations in 2018 by a coalition led by Mahathir Mohamad, who appointed Thomas.

But the party returned to power last year when Ismail Sabri was appointed premier following the collapse of two successive governments, including Mahathir's.

Ismail Sabri is expected to attend a meeting of senior UMNO officials later on Friday to discuss possible election dates, Malaysian media reported.

(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)

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