Bar Council: In Upholding Cause Of Justice And Rule Of Law, Malaysian Bar Is Undeterred By Threats

The Malaysian Bar is disappointed to read in the news media reports on 2 November 2013 that the Muslim Lawyers Association has allegedly threatened or warned the Bar not to back the Catholic newspaper The Herald’s appeal against the controversial Court of Appeal ruling on the use of the word ‘Allah’ or it “would not hesitate to take further action”.

It is strange for an association of lawyers to fear arguments taken in a court of law and to impel them to issue threats. It leaves one to wonder what it is that they are afraid of.

Let us be plain and clear. The Malaysian Bar does not back any party. Access to justice is for all who seek it. Any party has the constitutional right to bring their grievances to the courts and to pursue their appeals. The Malaysian Bar and the Bar Council are secular bodies. We are not grounded in or partial to any religious belief. The Malaysian Bar does not stand for or against any party.

The positions that we take are, and will always be, prescribed by the rule of law and premised on the Federal Constitution. We act for justice and truth and will not be swayed by partisan politics or religious belief. The Malaysian Bar will not be deterred in upholding the cause of justice by any threat or intimidation. We are bound to act without fear or favour, and without regard for our own interests.

It unfortunately appears that some parties or segments of our society deem it appropriate to resort to issuing threats or fear mongering as a means of getting their way. Sometimes these threats are coupled with claims of ignorance or confusion or cries of hurt feelings and sensitivities. It is long past the time for Malaysians to shed such practices.

The Malaysian authorities for their part should cease pandering to, or legitimising such practices, as it only serves to encourage those who resort to threats or violence as a means of getting their way or silencing others. Such behavior also seeks to stifle discourse, growth and understanding. It runs counter to the principles of moderation that Malaysia wishes to practice and project. We would not achieve the Malaysia that our founding fathers and the original Federal Constitution envisaged, and which all right thinking Malaysians hope for, if we continue to play to the lowest denominator amongst us.

Christopher Leong
Malaysian Bar

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