lawyer, constitutionalist and author.
Tommy Thomas was born in Kuala Lumpur in 1952, and attended Pasar Road English School and Victoria Institution. He read law at the University of Manchester, graduating in 1973, and became a barrister (Middle Temple) in 1974. He studied International Relations at the London School of Economics, securing an M.Sc. in 1975.
He was called to the Malaysian Bar in 1976. He has been in active and continuous practice since call. He started his career at Skrine & Co., becoming a partner in 1982. In 2000, he established a small firm, doing litigation matters exclusively, organised along the lines of a barrister’s chambers in England.
Thomas served in the Bar Council from 1984 to 1988 and from 1993 to 2001. He was elected its Secretary, serving from 1995 to 1997. He was Editor of Insaf, the Bar’s publication from 1985 to 1987. He was a member of the Bar (Disciplinary Proceedings) Review Committee under the Chairmanship of Tun Hussein Onn, and wrote its Report in 1986.
Thomas has a keen interest in corporate governance. He was a Director of the Malaysian Institute of Corporate Governance from 1995 to 2001. In the wake of the financial and economic crisis that engulfed Malaysia and other Asian countries in 1997, the United Nations Development Plan (UNDP) appointed him as Senior Consultant in 2000 to lead the Corporate Governance Initiative for the countries affected by the crisis. The publication in 2002 of a UNDP Report edited by him identified profligate corporate debt as a principal cause for the crisis.
He is a life member of the Malaysian Economic Association and the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.