“We are hundred times better than Kiasuland”: Malaysia’s new AG’s comment on Singapore law goes viral

Photo: Tommy Thomas

A nine-year-old speech by Malaysia’s new Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, in which he slammed Singapore as “Kiasuland”, has been going viral on social media here.

Contrary to speculation that the AG’s remarks comparing constitutional law between Singapore and Malaysia is recent, the AG’s sharp criticism was actually made on 9 Dec 2009 at a public forum in Petaling Jaya. The speech was actually made months after the Perak constitutional crisis, during which Perak’s one-year-old Pakatan Rakyat state government toppled.

Asserting that Malaysia was fortunate to be a member of the Commonwealth nations – since this means it could refer any constitutional disputes with fellow countries who share similar legal systems that originated from the “intellectual home” of Britain – the 66-year-old cited several examples of nations that he considers to have “constitutional courts of respect”.

Making the point that the then-opposition would have won its case had their legal challenge been heard in India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa, Thomas then took a jibe at Singapore:

“Here I must say…the one place that Malaysian constitution lawyers never looked to is Singapore. Singapore doesn’t have a constitution, does not have a constitution court, does not have judges, does not have lawyers.
“I cannot read this speech in Singapore. So whenever we criticise Malaysia, we must say we are hundred times better than Kiasuland.”

According to Free Malaysia Today news, “kiasuland” is a derogatory term used by Malaysians to describe Singapore.

Several Singaporeans have been newly sharing Thomas’ remarks on social media, since he was named as Malaysia Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s pick as Attorney-General. Thomas was confirmed as AG by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong yesterday, following a short delay that gave rise to rumours that his appointment failed to achieve royal consent.

Curiously, some Singaporeans sharing Thomas’ remarks said that the AG is not to be blamed for making such a statement. Local human rights activist Jolovan Wham is one such voice who said that Malaysia’s judges were “more independent than Singapore’s for cases with political implications.”

He added on Twitter: “Singapore’s AGC should initiate proceedings against Malaysia’s new AG for scandalising our judiciary, if it wants to prosecute me for criticising our judges.”

Wham, himself, made a similar statement to that of Thomas in a recent Facebook post. He was prosecuted for the statement and the Attorney-General’s Chambers here initiated contempt of court proceedings against Wham over the statement last month.

Another Singaporean, Sukhdev Singh Gill, also felt that Thomas was justified in making such a statement.

While noting that “many proud, loyal and patriotic Singaporeans would never be able to stomach such hard words against our beloved nation,” he added on Facebook, “The speaker, Mr Tommy Thomas should not be blamed as he made such a comparison of Singapore (even Zimbabwe) with England, India, Canada, Australia (even NZ), EC @ Strausbourg and South Africa, because frankly we cannot be compared to those countries mentioned.”


  1. Don’t put SG down to make Msia look better. I am not defending or patriotic as such but l do know bad intention and smell inferiority complex hidden somewhere. If you are good it shines if you are just you will win battles but you dont have to degrade anyone to upgrade oneself. The truth speakes for itself.

  2. Don’t belittle, sneer, ridicule just-a-little-$-less-n-less-fortunate to make just-a-few-$-more-n-outsize-ego-how-lian look better. I am not jealous or cynical as such but l do sense inadequate upbringing and smell superiority complex hidden somewhere. If you are good it shines if you are just you will win battles but you dont have to degrade anyone to upgrade oneself. The truth speakes for itself. the coffin is abt the same size for everyone. any ego bigger n out of dimensions, even the incinerator cannot accommodate.

  3. Your land size I bigger than us but you better than us you only can only dream nothing more than that
    Yes your ex PM NAJIB corruption is alot bigger
    Stop using Singapore to enhance your own capability show some work before open your big mouth

  4. The only thing you can say bigger than us is your political leaders and beurocrate corruption other than that you are nothing
    You looking the most easy way to be in good book of TUN Mahathir by saying things against Singapore that’s all
    Do some work and start prosecuting those corrupted leaders and make Malaysian people life easy

  5. I am with the majority of the commenters whose views expressed here in support of our beloved Singapore. By being kiasu we have achieved various multiple “first spots” in the world, to name a few:
    1. We have surpassed Malaysia by having one and only one political party governing our country since independence from colonial tyranny. More than 70% of our people are still in support of that party.
    2. We do not have covert money corruption. No need. We have the highest paid ruling politicians, ministers and civil service in the world.
    3. We have the highest rate of life savings compared to other countries – meant to support us during old age and the government ensured that such funds are safeguarded for eternity in its coffers.

  6. Lee Linda,Mr.Tommy Thomas is stating the truth,to used the word put down is ur own thinking, even a small child can differentiate between right n wrong, our judiciary system is totally one party control.o.o.o.cheers

  7. I think let’s not take things out of context. The younger Tommy can say alot ot things to play to the gallery especially when he is defending opposition politicians in the past. However now he is part of the government. So I would take whatever he says in the past as the “youthful” Tommy trying to make a mark on the world. However the current Malaysian AG Tommy is a man with a mission and is more circumspect. Let’s give him some rooms to do his job and try not to drag his past deeds or misdeeds in front of him so that he can focus on his important job of cleaning up the broken judicial system in Malaysia.