Ak57\’s Weblog

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Posts Tagged ‘Bar Council

Bar Council can comment but not take part

Bar Council ‘can take part in hearings on video clip’

KUALA LUMPUR: The Bar Council is welcome to take part in the royal commission hearings on the “Lingam” video clip, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said.

“We have no problems with it. They can come forward and give us their input.”

However, he said there was no possibility that Bar Council members could become royal commissioners themselves.

“There is no chance of that happening. How can they act fairly and be unbiased if they have already marched against the judiciary? They have already made their stand.

“Secondly, Lingam is a member of the Bar. Just like they don’t trust the police to investigate their own, how can the Bar be part of an investigation into one of their members?

“Justice must not merely be served, but must be seen to be served,” he said.

In the video clip, lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam is allegedly shown discussing judicial appointments with a senior judge.

The terms of reference for the royal commission of inquiry was up to the government, Nazri said.

“It is not for the Bar Council to decide, but the government.

“We won’t consult them and we will not give up our right to decide.”

Nazri said the terms had not been finalised.

“We (the cabinet) have given our opinions, but the prime minister has not finalised anything yet.”

He also said the government was happy with the present system of appointing judges and would not be changing it, despite calls to set up an independent judicial appointments and promotions commission.

(cut) …

In Putrajaya, sources said the Anti-Corruption Agency was still gathering evidence in relation to the video clip.

Investigations were still continuing and the case had not been wrapped up.

In Kuala Lumpur, a lawyer yesterday filed an application seeking a declaration that the resolutions made during the Bar Council extraordinary general meeting on Thursday relating to the “Lingam” video clip were null and void.

Lian Meng Wah, in his application filed at the High Court yesterday, said the Bar Council was not a member of the Malaysian Bar and does not have the power, authority or right to propose any motion under the Legal Profession Act 1976 to be considered at the EGM.

He further stated that the meeting was legal but the motions were illegal and unconstitutional.

Lian, a member of the Malaysian Bar, claimed the resolutions deemed illegal during the EGM include:

– The Malaysian Bar strongly deplores and condemns any member of the Bar who indulges in any conduct that may adversely affect the independence, integrity and credibility of the judiciary or the administration of justice;

– The Malaysian Bar strongly deplores and condemns the manipulation of the appointments and promotion process of judges by any party which interferes with and adversely affects the independence, integrity and credibility of the judiciary, and

– The Malaysian Bar welcomes the announcement of the prime minister to establish a royal commission of inquiry.

Lian sought an order to set aside the adoption of the Bar Council motion as a resolution of the Malaysian Bar and an injunction to refrain the Bar Council from publishing, implementing, acting upon, prosecuting or canvassing the resolutions of the EGM.

– quoted from an article published in NST on 24th November 2007 (link)

For once I agree with Nazri, to prevent a conflict of interest no Bar council member should be part of the Royal Commission. However, wasn’t Haidar also linked to VK Lingam yet given the OK to head the Panel? Sounds like selective judgement sir.

That part about the government being happy with the current system of appointing judges is also disheartening – now is your chance to get support for the government sir! Make a big show of improving the system, get more votes from the less-informed population who only read the media that you control.

Then again it may still happen, to distract from whatever happens at the HINDRAF gathering tomorrow.

It is worth noting that the ACA is reported to be still investigating matters related to the video clip, though that may just be their interview with VK Lingam and nothing more.

Finally out of all the members of the Bar Council, only one had a beef with the result of the meeting? I am not that familiar with legal parlance, but by filing the report and saying the stated resolutions were illegal, is Lian Meng Wah endorsing :

  • conduct that adversely affects the independence, integrity and credibility of the judiciary
  • the manipulation of the appointments and promotion process of judges

There is nothing to ‘implement, act upon or prosecute’ here, unless you count future condemnation of Bar Council members who practice corruption. What is he talking about? There must be more to this than what was printed.

Perhaps he is just a stickler to the rules (I’ll have to pick up a copy of the Legal Profession Act now sigh) and the Malaysian Bar might not have the right to officially give comment on the process of appointing/promoting judges or on the performance of its members.

Written by ak57

November 25, 2007 at 3:31 am