The Walk for Judicial Independence on 17 June 2022 was meant to be a “black and white” march from Padang Merbok to Parliament, a peaceful protest against interference with the independence of the Judiciary, and breaches of the fundamental principle of separation of powers. The plan was to hand over the Malaysian Bar’s memorandum to YB Datuk Wira Mas Ermieyati binti Samsudin, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law), who would receive the memorandum at Parliament on behalf of the Prime Minister.
As Members of the Bar gathered at the car park of Padang Merbok at 10:00 am on the day, it became clear from the heavy police presence that things would not go according to plan. After speeches by the Office Bearers of the Bar Council, Members of the Bar, led by the President of the Malaysian Bar, proceeded to make their way to Parliament. However, the police blockade prevented everyone from leaving and participants were essentially physically confined to the car park at Padang Merbok. In the end, the memorandum was handed over by the President to the Deputy Minister who made her way to Padang Merbok.
Heavy police presence awaited us.
Getting ready for the Walk.
Negotiations being done with the police to allow the Walk to take place.
The police form a human chain to prevent the Walk from taking place, at another entrance.
Negotiations being done, albeit unsuccessfully.
Sea of banners and placards.
The police refuse to budge, so Members of the Bar regroup and wait for the arrival of YB Datuk Wira Mas Ermieyati binti Samsudin, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law).
YB Datuk Wira Mas Ermieyati binti Samsudin receives our Memorandum, on behalf of the Prime Minister.
The Malaysian Bar convened an Extraordinary General Meeting (“EGM”) on 27 May 2022 and resolved inter alia, to condemn the unprecedented manner in which the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (“MACC”) had publicly announced the commencement of criminal investigation of a Superior Court Judge, and disclosed the name of the judge to the public, for an indefinite period and without proper closure, which is tantamount to an act of intimidation against the Judiciary.
The Malaysian Bar strongly views that any investigation of Superior Court Judges by law enforcement agencies must be done in a manner that does not erode judicial independence and public confidence in the Judiciary. The Malaysian Bar also recognises that any complaint against Superior Court Judges and investigation by law enforcement agencies, if given undue and unwarranted publicity, will have a far-reaching impact on the independence of the Judiciary, and the public confidence reposited in the Judiciary.
The Malaysian Bar, at its EGM, had also resoundingly resolved to hold a peaceful assembly as a form of protest against the interference with the independence of the Judiciary, and breaches of the fundamental principle of separation of powers. The Malaysian Bar’s “Resolution on Upholding and Protecting the Independence of the Judiciary and the Preservation of Public Confidence in the Judiciary” is accessible here on the Malaysian Bar website.