©The Star (Used by permission)
by Shaila Koshy
KUALA LUMPUR: The Bar Council auditorium has finally been named and it is fitting that it is now the Raja Aziz Addruse Auditorium.
Raja Aziz, who passed away on July 12 at the age of 75, is often referred to as the “gold standard” of the legal fraternity and “the best Chief Justice Malaysia never had”.
The naming and dedication of the auditorium took place yesterday at the Bar Council, just before the inaugural Raja Aziz Addruse Memorial Lecture was launched.
His widow Catherine Addruse, daughters Raja Azrine, Raja Adeline, son–in–law Jonathan Rogers and grandchild Cassidy were present.
Special guests included Yang di–Pertuan Besar Negri Sembilan Tuanku Muhriz Tuanku Munawir, his consort Tuanku Aishah Rohani Tengku Besar Mahmud, former Cabinet Minister Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen Ismail and former Chief Justice of India Justice J.S. Verma.
In thanking the council for honouring her father, Raja Azrine said: “My father would have been amused and bemused by all this, and I can hear him say at least it's the auditorium and not the broom cupboard'.”
Describing his love for his work and commitment to the rule of law, she said he often took on unpopular cases even though he had no hope of winning. He was meant to retire at 60 but he got busier instead.
Earlier, Bar president Lim Chee Wee said “Ungku”, as Raja Aziz is popularly known, had been in practice for 45 years and was president of the Malaysian Bar for seven years (1976–78, 1988–89, 1992–93).
“Ungku wasn't only a president for judicial and national crisis, he also was concerned with the quality of young practitioners,” said Lim.
Former Bar president Datuk Dr Cyrus Das said Raja Aziz did not view his practice as a commercial enterprise, and that he believed passionately in the rule of law and representing those who had been unfairly treated.