Has the Malaysian Bar the gumption to do what its Council is impotent to do?

This article was originally published on Haris Ibrahim’s blog.

Guess who literally walked into me at the Himpunan Rakyat KL112?

Yup, none other than the honourable president of the Malaysian Bar, Lim Chee Wee.

I had seen him walking in my direction, but he had not noticed me until he near literally walked into me and blurted, “Oh God, the last person I wanted to see”.

I thought nothing of it then, and like the many others who had heard him, I laughed it off.

"Oh God, the last person I wanted to see."

Some 3 weeks later, a letter from the Advocates & Solicitors Disciplinary Board to me dated 17 January, 2013 got me wondering if there was more to that retort. The letter had been delivered some time in January, but as I had been traveling, I only got to read its contents some time in the first week of February.

The letter refers to Complaint number: DB/12/8045 and credits me as the complainant.

In the very first sentence of that letter, I am referred to my letter dated 17 December, 2012 “forwarded by the Bar Council on 21 December, 2012”. To refresh your memory, my letter of 17 December was that letter by which I laid before the Bar Council the matter of who was the scumbag lawyer who drew up the second statutory declaration signed by PI Bala with a view to withdrawing serious allegations against Najib in his earlier statutory declaration, and alluded to by me in an earlier post.

Note that my letter was delivered by the Bar Council to the Disciplinary Board on 21 December.

The day after the Bar Council received my letter, Chee Wee issued a statement. FMT quoted him as saying that “the most important person in a complaint against a legal practitioner should be the victim himself’.

“Who is the victim here? Has the victim Balasubramaniam raised concerns about anything at this point? We need more facts, either from the victim or somebody else. People must come forward with the facts. I’m not going on a fishing expedition… knocking on people’s office or doors for facts. This is not a case of clients money disappearing,” Chee Wee is reported to have said.

Now, Chee Wee being clearly aware that PI Bala is the victim in this whole sordid business, what was the purpose of sending my letter to the Disciplinary Board?

Enclosed with the letter from the Disciplinary Board was a stack of documents and instructions for me to comply with so that my complaint might be “processed”. The standard form complaint sent to me bore several questions that I was required to give responses to, duly affirmed before a commissioner of oaths.

This is question 2.4: When did you appoint this advocate and solicitor?

Question 2.5: What were your instructions to this advocate and solicitor?

If Chee Wee has taken a little trouble to appraise himself of the facts already infamously known by the public at large, he must surely realise that even the ‘victim’ Bala would not be able to answer these two questions!

And if the ‘victim’ can offer no answer to these questions, what responses does the Bar Council or the Disciplinary Board expect from me?

Forgive me, but is the Bar Council just plain stupid, or is there more to this exercise in futility than meets the eye?

Thanks to 14 young and brave lawyers, though, we may yet get at the truth.

This Saturday, 16 March, the Bar will hold its AGM. Malaysiakini reports [Ed: We’re not sure why Haris linked Malaysiakini, when the motion was first reported and uploaded on LoyarBurok! Pay attention Haris! You can read the post here, and the full motion here.] that these 14 lawyers have presented a motion to be deliberated at the AGM to “establish an Independent Investigation Committee to urgently enquire into the facts and circumstances relating to the preparation and execution” of that now infamous SD2.

In their motion, these young lawyers took the Bar Council to task for, amongst other things, permitting “itself to be viewed as being reluctant to act decisively on the matter”.

14 young lawyers have shown themselves to be true to the very first and paramount purpose of the Malaysian Bar: to uphold the cause of justice without regard to its own interests or that of its members, uninfluenced by fear or favour.

We shall know by this Saturday if there are anymore such as these 14 at the Bar.

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My name is Haris Ibrahim. Trained in the law. Late father was Malay and my mum is Ceylonese. I am Malaysian.

Posted on 12 March 2013. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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One Response to Has the Malaysian Bar the gumption to do what its Council is impotent to do?

  1. Andrew Teh

    Can we have a caption contest for the photo above?