The ear of a leader must ring with the voices of the people and the moment he stops listening to those voices, then he is no longer fit to be a leader.
When one offers himself to be a member of the Bar Council, one must remember that once elected, he is there to advance and protect the rights and interests of the members of the Malaysian Bar as well as that of the public. It is a position of trust and not one of status.
Council members have a duty and that duty does not differ from the duty of every lawyer in Malaysia i.e. to act without fear or favour.
Council members are not elected so that they can get titles or accolades or rub shoulders with judges or leaders of the Government.
They are elected because the members of the Malaysian Bar want them to be their voice and conscience.
Edmund’s concern about the effectiveness of the Bar Council is not something that should be taken lightly. Detractors may criticise him for the manner in which he aired the problems.
But that is not the issue. The real issues are the matters which he has validly raised such as the Judiciary, the VK Lingam video scandal, the administration of justice in the courts and the welfare of the lawyers, among others.
Edmund is not the only person who has heard grouses from the members of the Bar. Lawyers and public have now turned to alternative avenues or media to air their problems because they feel that the Bar Council are not able to effectively raise the matters with the powers that be and address their problems.
As a result, websites such as ‘LoyarBurok’ and e-groups such as ‘Lawyerstalk’ and ‘Transformed Bar’ have become outlets for lawyers and the public to voice their dissatisfaction on the Judiciary or the Government when such issues should have been taken up by the Bar Council.
On Edmund’s decision to not offer himself for the next election, I am of the view that there should be a limit to the number of terms one should serve as Council members. This is not something new.
In fact, a motion to the effect of limiting the tenure of Council members was moved in the Bar’s 2005 AGM but was defeated.