Categorised | Letters to the Editor

Allow lawyers to fulfill duties without fear or favour

THE Malaysian Bar is appalled that the office of the law firm representing the Herald suffered a break-in that was discovered this morning. If this incident is related to their role in the ongoing case involving the Herald, it is a clear case of harassment and coercion of the lawyers concerned, who are the latest targets of various reprehensible attacks.

We are dismayed at the stark lack of respect for the fundamental right of any person or group to take any matter to the courts for determination and resolution. Both litigants and their lawyers must be protected from any form of intimidation in the exercise of this right. Advocates and solicitors must be allowed to advance their client’s case without fear or favour in the course of fulfilling their professional obligations. Any harassment of litigants and their lawyers in the exercise of their rights and duties respectively is an affront to the dignity of the courts and the administration of justice.

We have pledged to uphold the Federal Constitution and to respect the Rule of Law. We must all abide by this undertaking, which includes abiding by judicial decisions. Criticism and dissent are legitimate forms of expression, but threats, coercion, intimidation or violence are unacceptable.

We call on the police to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation into this incident, and accord it the highest priority. It is internationally recognised that lawyers perform a vital function when they act for their clients in the pursuit of justice, and they must be permitted to carry out these functions freely. Bullying tactics must not go unchecked.

We strongly urge that all parties respect the basic and vital right to seek redress in a court of law, which should be an unfettered right that can be exercised unreservedly in any democratic society. We must never regress to a position where we sacrifice this principle for political mileage or self-interest.

Ragunath Kesavan
President
Malaysian Bar

14 Jan 2010

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3 Responses to “Allow lawyers to fulfill duties without fear or favour”

  1. Gopal Raj Kumar says:

    “We are dismayed at the stark lack of respect for the fundamental right of any person or group to take any matter to the courts for determination and resolution. Both litigants and their lawyers must be protected from any form of intimidation in the exercise of this right. Advocates and solicitors must be allowed to advance their client’s case without fear or favour in the course of fulfilling their professional obligations. Any harassment of litigants and their lawyers in the exercise of their rights and duties respectively is an affront to the dignity of the courts and the administration of justice.”

    Perhaps a comment on this one paragraph that appears to be a contradiction in terms of the Malaysian Bar’s outrage at the “break in” referred to, that could eventually compel The Nut Graph’s editors that a proper response may not necessarily breach “policy guidelines” and be worthy of publication after all?

    Do people really have those rights referred to in this statement by Kesevan to bring matters to court or are these “rights” a fiction in the minds of the Bar, exclusive to those the Bar in its infinte wisdom believe are deserving of such rights?

    The Lingam tapes and the critical role played by the Bar in trying and executing the man’s reputation before it went to court?

    Secondly with respect to the Prime Minister’s alleged involvement in the murder of Altantuya Shariibuu, the bar and its “esteemed” members [...] played a prominent role in smearing the reputation of the prime minister prior and subsequent to his ascendancy to the office of PM which it continued with that egregious document crafted by one of its members [...]. That document drawn up without proper care or regard as to the facts or the discredit of the claims contained in the document went further than to the rights of individuals. It went to the credibility of the Bar from its silence in the face of such attacks on the dignity of their courts and their government.

    Or is the question of the dignity of the courts a term that has separate meaning when applied to the actions of the Bar and its members and when applied to those who do not subscribe to their unique brand of politics of branding individuals in government?

    The Malaysian Bar has acted as a de facto voice for Anwar Ibrahim and his party in opposition whilst having a field day running a campaign against government and individuals they find intolerable because of their politics.

    I keep reading of this policy statement I am meant to familiarise myself with which I am meant to offend each time The Nut Graph feels a certain sense of political self-righteousness indignation to curtail free discussion on its blog.

    Well, maybe third time lucky. The Bar is an integral part of the social justice system in Malaysia as are new publications. Especially when they act without fear or favour and responsibly that is.

    Gopal Raj Kumar

  2. Gopal Raj Kumar says:

    Likewise all letters and complaints should be published without fear or FAVOUR.

    Gopal Raj Kumar

  3. Gopal Raj Kumar says:

    You remain defiant in your onesided preference for the Malaysian Bar and your unequivocal stand taken in favour of its membership through the statements of its president on The Nut Graph.

    You are one-sided insofar as you censor letters or comments challenging the veracity or the accuracy of what their president writes here from time to time with impunity and without question as to accuracy of his information or its tendency to mislead and misinform a reader.

    Nothing can be viewed in a balanced way if a different view is not permitted or is suppressed without good reason. My comments must be allowed to be aired then challenged by the president or any of his cronies or aplogists from within The Nut Graph but not before.

    Allow your readers make up their minds on balance and with the benefit of a wider and informed perspective on the positions others like the Malaysian Bar espouses in furthering its own interests through you.

    Surely that itself will give you the credibility that you crave as an independent publication (something every vibrant democracy enjoys). In its absence you become like the other publications and the driving force behind them which is a government you have issue with. And there is nothing wrong with having such differences providing you can substantiate the arguments you raise either through reference to academic or legal sources or in your case, your conduct.

    There is a biblical saying from the New Testament in the Christian Gospels (Mary Magdalina) where the prophet Christ says to those after the poor woman, “Let him that is without sin cast the first stone.”

    There is some wisdom in those lines 2,000 years on to contemplate when playing the role of critic or in this case “editor”.

    Gopal Raj Kumar


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