On 13 June 2011, I had the privilege of delivering this speech on the occasion of Ms. Lai Yee Lee’s call to the Bar before Justice Rohana bt Yusuf.

Source Pic: http://www.flickr.com/photos/79285665@N00/4315123328/

My Lady, there are many roads to the life of law. For those that feel it destiny that road is straight and smooth. Then there are those who were ambivalent, but then came to it by accident; and in some cases, design.

And so it seems to be with the Petitioner who hails from Kulai, Johor, this morning, my Lady. Her parents, her father is a contractor and her mother a Home Minister, have for some time nurtured an interest in the study of law in the Petitioner. I take pleasure in this fact. It is nice to know that there still are parents who think legal practice a worthy profession and nurture their children in that direction.

So after completing her STPM at SMK Sultan Ibrahim, Kulai in 2005, the Petitioner enrolled with Multimedia University. She completed her Bachelor of Laws in 2010 with a second class upper. After that she completed her pupillage at Messrs. Wong Lu Peen & Tunku Alina, under the tutelage of Mr. Andrew Teh. I know him to be a skilled and experienced advocate and am certain that he educated her as well as could be about legal practice.

In an interview with him, he gave a favourable account of the Petitioner where her work and skill development were concerned. I do not want to trouble my Lady with the long of it, so the short of it she is diligent, sensible, and dedicated. She is also honest enough with herself to realize the shortcoming in her legal skill set especially in the area of language. She looks to improve on them in time to come. This ability to critically self-analyze one’s self is important and crucial to be an effective lawyer. It also means you know where your limits are.

In fact, Tan Sri Abdul Hamid bin Omar, when his Lordship was the Chief Justice of Malaya, on 27/9/1987 (so this was before that fateful 1988 event) addressed this trait and the issue of language in his speech for the opening ceremony of the Moot Court at was then the School of Administration and Law, Mara Institute of Technology ([1988] 2 MLJ i):

“From experience I would say that it is necessary to secure the confidence and respect of the court. In order to do so it is essential that you be (and in fact be) courteous, truthful, frank, fair and even willing to confess ignorance or uncertainty should such an occasion arise. There is nothing disgraceful about being ignorant, indeed in not being infallible. I would say that sometimes a frank admission is not out of place, indeed it is often greatly appreciated by the court.”

A little further down his Lordship also discusses the importance of language, which bears repeating:

“May I also observe that the need to have a very good command of language, be it English now or ultimately the national language or both as the court’s language, and, if lacking to cultivate it, is important not only to those already engaged in the administration of justice, lawyers included, but also to law students in our institutes of further education who would in due course be engaged in the legal profession. And they should in my view be fully conscious of the necessity to have good command of both the national and the English languages; the latter’s importance should not be under-estimated as it is now a universal language internationally used in business and the commercial sector and that inevitably practicing lawyers will invariably be called upon to handle their clients’ interest, business or otherwise internationally.”

So it was in 1987, so it still is in 2011. And coming back to the mains, all those traits I described earlier I submit are strong indicators of the Petitioner possessing the requisite ‘good character’ as provided for under section 11(1)(b) of the LPA76.

My Lady, the Petitioner would like to thank her parents for their love and support; to Mr. Nick Vooi for his support and care; her siblings for their constant and unwavering support; to Mr. Chai Kim You and Mr. Andrew Teh for their guidance and encouragement. A big thanks also to everybody at Messrs. Ngan Arifah & Chai and Messrs. Wong Lu Peen & Tunku Alina, as well as all her friends.

My Lady, all the cause papers are in order, I believe my learned friends have no objections and finally, the Petitioner is a fit and proper person to be admitted and enrolled. I pray that the Petitioner be admitted and enrolled as an advocate and solicitor of the High Court of Malaya.

Despite the labour and anxiety that goes into each call speech, Fahri Azzat enjoys preparing them as it gives each one a personal touch. He also in the process gets to know the person his moving the call for and watch their development from afar. And would encourage those to take up a request to move calls from Mr. Andrew Teh because he is so pleasantly generous in his gesture of thanks.

Fahri Azzat practices the dark arts of the law. Although he enjoys writing and reading, he doesn't enjoy writing his own little biographies of himself. Like this one. He wished somebody else would do it...