December 19, 2012
Bar Council behaves like the MACC on Who is this Tan Sri Lawyer?
by MCLM’s Hari Ibrahim
“We have also received yesterday a letter from [lawyer-activist] Haris Ibrahim requesting the Bar Council to launch an investigation to identify the lawyer (s) concerned, when it appears to us that Haris may know the identity of these lawyers.”
“This has caused unnecessary speculation and confusion” : Bar Council President, Lim Chee Wee, as reported in FMT.
Really, my purpose in sending the letter was not to cause speculation and confusion.Quite the contrary.
I merely asked that the Bar Council investigate to (1) identify the solicitor(s) concerned, and (2) ascertain if there was any impropriety in the preparation of SD2.It now appears to the Bar Council that I know the identity of the lawyer(s)?
In my “Who is the Tan Sri lawyer?” post, this is what I said :
“I have received confirmation from 3 independent and reliable sources as to who this scumbag is”.
Surely the Bar Council will not read this to mean I have direct knowledge of the acts in question, rather than knowledge of informants, albeit, in my opinion, reliable, relating to these acts.
In my letter to the Bar Council, I had narrated 17 sets of facts before I posted two questions which I felt were of importance.
1. Did the solicitor(s) who drew up SD2 take instructions from Bala prior to drafting the same that was finally affirmed by Bala?
2. Given that by the terms of SD2, Bala would be admitting to an offence of swearing out a prior false statutory declaration, was it not incumbent upon the solicitor(s) concerned in its preparation to have taken instructions from Bala and to have warned him of the consequences of affirming the statutory declaration that was being drawn up for his affirmation?
The second question, for me, sums up the issue of concern. Now, before I say more on this second question, you might find the following information helpful.
Section 42 of the Legal Profession Act, 1976 (LPA) lays out the objects and powers of the Malaysian Bar.
The very first purpose of the Bar : to uphold the cause of justice without regard to its own interests or that of its members, uninfluenced by fear or favour.
Now the Council president has urged that if anyone has compelling evidence, that they step forward to “lodge such evidence together with a complaint immediately with the disciplinary board”.
Can the Bar Council make the complaint?Section 99 of the LPA relates to complaints to the Disciplinary Board. Sub-section (3) states : Nothing in this section shall be taken to preclude the Bar Council or a State Bar Committee from making any complaint of its own motion to the Disciplinary Board against an advocate and solicitor or a pupil.
Of course it would be wholly irresponsible for the Council to lodge a complaint without prior investigation.
And to ascertain the name(s).
And if there was any impropriety.
Which is all that my letter that caused speculation and confusion asked the Council do.
Is it powerless to investigate?
The Malaysian Bar is powerless to investigate?
Do not the decent lawyers remaining at the Bar want to get to the bottom of this?
Back to the second question I posed in my letter.
Section 57 of the LPA deals with specific powers of the Bar Council. 57(b) provides that the Bar Council shall have power to answer questions affecting the practice and etiquette of the profession and the conduct of members.
Hmm, maybe my letter was poorly worded and I should have put the second question as one requiring an answer from the Bar Council.
Never mind, maybe one of you keen young journalists can pose the same second question to the Bar Council for an enlightened response.
I mean, if the answer is that such conduct as is described in my question is well in keeping with the finest traditions of the Malaysian Bar and sits well with its primary purpose of upholding the cause of justice, then they can treat this matter as Gani Patail so often does.
Stamp my letter “NFA”.
FMT also reports :
Lim also said that the most important person in a complaint against a legal practitioner should be the victim himself, but the apparent “victim” has yet to come forward.
“Who is the victim here? Has the victim Balasubramaniam raised concerns about anything at this point? We need more facts, either from the victim or somebody else.”
“People must come forward with the facts. I’m not going on a fishing expedition… knocking on people’s office or doors for facts. This is not a case of clients money disappearing.
“This information is revealed by someone whose own background is cause for concern,” said Lim, referring to Deepak.
Asked if the Bar Council is reluctant to act, he said: “We cannot say we are not doing anything. Those with more facts, come forward. We will do what is necessary. Even at this time, we will look into this further if necessary,” he said.
Gosh, where have I heard the likes of this before? MACC?