Bar Council Not Seen As Upholding The Rule Of Law

Bar Council will lose credibility, public confidence, if it takes extreme positions, loses independence

The Bar Council’s role and functions are about the 20K Malaysian Bar, certainly not putting itself in a position where it invites the kind of letter of demand (LoD) mentioned in the following link. See here.

If we take the cue from the LoD, the Bar Council has published a statement which was allegedly false and malicious, and the allegedly false and scurrilous imputations allegedly constitute grave and serious libel. See here.

There were real issues with the RM42m SRC International case in the Federal Court.

If the Debate goes back and forth, whether, in court or outside, there are no prizes for guessing who will prevail. Obviously, it will be the one still standing.

In the SRC case, the Federal Court did not allow the Debate to go back and forth. It was a violation of the rule of law.

The SRC Ruling, being unanimous, was another violation of the rule of law. There must be dissenting judgment/s. Dissenting judgment/s facilitate Appeal and Review.

Anyone can be “fixed” considering the way the charges were framed. That’s why all nine judges in three courts said the same thing. Obiter Dictum is just the Opinion of the judge. It’s not part of the Ruling.

The RM42m was not from SRC International although the case reads SRC. The money trail shows the RM42m came from a loan which Maybank gave to another Company which may or may not have been linked to SRC International.

Judge Nazlan was with Maybank at that time and was in the know. He should have been a witness in the SRC case. Instead, he presided over the case in the High Court. He should have recused himself.

Judge Nazlan should be brought before the Judicial Ethics Committee and sacked by the Agong. Former Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s conviction on the RM42m SRC International case will cease to exist as if it never existed at all. The court has no jurisdiction.

Let’s not ask which country follows the rule of law. We should focus on which Supreme Court follows the rule of law.

Politically Motivated

Senior Sarawak lawyer Patrick Anek Uren posted the following, for what it’s worth, in my TimeLine on FaceBook on Tues 30 Aug 2020:

“I tend to concur Najib’s case is ‘political’ by the various missing pieces that should have been brought in but were left out.”

“Zeti and her husband and a Minister N.Y. were left out. They were the doorkeepers. The going out and coming in of money had to be through the door they kept guard over. They should know it’s the right or wrong money is coming in. And they should stop it if it is the same wrong money having previously gone out and now coming in through the same door.”

“And on the charge of money laundering, Najib should not be charged alone. He should be charged together with those doorkeepers. And to single him out to be charged only makes it looked as if his charges were politically motivated.” See here.

Disciplinary Action

We can be forgiven for thinking that the catalyst for the LoD was the Bar Council threatening disciplinary action against Najib’s lawyers on the SRC case.

The Bar Council may have added insult to injury when it imported language into the statement that was probably unbecoming of a professional body that takes its mandate from the legal fraternity.

It’s not the work of the Bar Council to protect the court system or defend the judiciary even if they were under attack from all sides. See here.

Some examples from the statement suffice. They demonstrate why senior lawyer Zaid Ibrahim was so upset with the Bar Council: agast, abused, disrepute, frantic acts, defiance, sudden discharge, undermine, unscrupulous strategies, perversion, abuse, tactics, purported injustice, self-inflicted, crafty schemes, purported victimisation, highly mischievous, vicious and unwarranted attacks, threats, wholly condemns, irresponsible parties, and unsavoury pressure.

If the Bar Council wants to take disciplinary action against Najib’s lawyers, it should just go ahead. Instead, it raved and ranted in the statement, became hysterical, and virtually ran amok like fanatics at a public march — eyes rolling with the whites showing, beating on the chest, tearing at the hair, crying, screaming, wailing and moaning as if possessed by any number of demons.

Legal Profession

Opinion isn’t law. Only the court can declare the law. The Bar Council’s take on the Legal Profession (Practice and Etiquette) Rules 1978, as the barometer “for the conduct of lawyers in the country and underlying paramount duty of lawyers as officers of the court”, is a matter for the court in seeking closure.

Patently, the issues in the conflict between senior lawyer Zaid Ibrahim and the Bar Council may be a matter for the court. It has nothing to do with Zaid Ibrahim’s legal firm and the Bar Council.

Finding Dignity

There’s a case for the Bar Council finding its dignity again. It must resist the temptation to borrow the Attorney General’s hat “when it’s perturbed by politicians’ comments and when attacks are made on the administration of justice, whether seditious or bordering on contempt of court”. See here and here. – NMH

About the writer: Longtime Borneo watcher Joe Fernandez keeps a keen eye on Malaysia as a legal scholar (jurist). He was formerly Chief Editor of Sabah Times. He is not to be mistaken for a namesake previously with Daily Express. References to his blog articles can be found here.

The points expressed in this article are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the stand of the New Malaysia Herald.

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Joe Fernandez
Longtime Borneo watcher Joe Fernandez has been writing for many years on both sides of the Southeast Asia Sea. He should not be mistaken for a namesake formerly with the Daily Express in Kota Kinabalu. JF keeps a Blog under FernzTheGreat on the nature of human relationships.

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