KUALA LUMPUR, 26 Nov 2008: The Bar Council will continue to voice its views on issues happening in the country as this is in accordance with the law, its president, Datuk Ambiga Sreenavasan, said today.
She said the Bar had the right to give its views because any statements made were only in relation to justice and the law.
“If people say we are entering into politics, then that means they do not understand what exactly we do,” she told reporters after launching the Bar Council’s Legal Aid Website and Legal Aid Room at the Court Complex in Jalan Duta here.
Ambiga was commenting on a statement by Malaysian Muslim Lawyers Association president Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang that the Bar should opt to dissolve itself if it wanted to dabble in politics.
Abu Zahar claimed that the council was now acting like an opposition party and was even questioning the bumiputera privileges.
“Statements made by the Bar are not political at all. The Bar Council’s statements did not touch on politics but may have touched on some political events that happened,” she said.
Saying that the Bar had never changed its principles, said that people could label the Bar whatever way they wanted but most importantly, statements made by the Bar were only in relation to justice and the rule of law.
On the legal aid website, Ambiga said the public could surf its website at http:/www.legalaidkl.org/.
She also urged the government to help fund the Bar, a voluntary organisation, as it is currently handling too many legal aid cases.
Since 2007, the Bar had received about 18,000 cases, mostly criminal, for its lawyers to handle on a voluntary basis.
Ambiga said she suggested to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz last month the setting up of a foundation to help the Bar in this matter. — Bernama