©Free Malaysia Today (Used by permission)
FMT Letter: Rani Nadesan, via e–mail
I refer to the letter, ‘The Malaysian Bar – from professional body to political entity’, by Madhu Marimuthu, a past president of The Institute of Internal Auditors, Malaysia. It’s little wonder that he does not understand how lawyers can play a role in democratic polity.
I would request Madhu to browse the internet for articles and news on the Lawyers’ Movement of Pakistan, which went on for two years to understand how their struggle has transformed their country’s legal and political landscape.
The Bersih participants consisted of the general public who want a free and fair elections and wanted to gather at Dataran Merdeka to ‘duduk and bantah”. The venue was made off bounds, so the crowd gathered on the streets in the vicinity of Dataran Merdeka.
If a selected group had tried to breach the hoarding to Dataran, there were hordes of police and FRU and they should have just arrested the few and there was no need to blast water and gas into the crowd.
The Bar Council had sent out its observers to report untoward incidents and also arranged for an Urgent Arrest Team to assist those detained during the demonstration. All these were done on a voluntary basis.
This was done by the Bar to protect and assist the general public. Today, some quarters are calling for an Alternative Bar and suggesting that the Bar is involved in politics. Others are saying that the Bar is favouring Ambiga.
Some have ventured into burger business and butt exercising in front of private residence. Now we hear there would be a Thosai feast too.
There must be a check and balance in all aspects and I believe the Bar represents the ‘check’ to ‘balance’ the use of power. I have taken the liberty to copy a section from the All India Bar Association’s website which speaks for itself:
“The role of legal fraternity in strengthening the democratic polity and the principle of rule of law is a universal feature. The legal community represents the most important and traditionally respected section of the society. The profession has undoubtedly performed its duties in the larger interest of its people.
The All India Bar Association is committed to a more integrated lawyer community. The Association has been established with a view to facilitate greater interaction and understanding amongst legal fraternity of India.
It also aspires to strengthen the relationship between the Bar and the Bench, in turn building an environment conducive to effective administration of justice and maintenance of rule of law.
The association aims at upholding the Constitution of India and the representative, free and democratic form of the Government. It promotes the science of Jurisprudence and encourages research in legal and allied fields.
The association also regularly makes recommendations for improvement of standards of legal education throughout the country. It conducts seminars, symposia, conferences on critical issues of contemporary interest to impart knowledge to the public at large.
The association upholds the honour, dignity and independence of the Bar and the Bench. For attaining these objectives, the association works in close coordination with non–governmental organisations, government and statutory bodies and international organisations.”