The Bar Council has learned that a poster calling for the death of a member of the Bar, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar is being widely distributed. This death threat is expressly linked to his holding a watching brief on behalf of the Malaysian Bar in the case of Lina Joy against the Majlis Agama Wilayah Persekutuan, the Government of Malaysia and the Director–General of the National Registration Department that is presently before the Federal Court. It is a fact that in holding the said watching brief, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar advanced the Bar Council’s position on the legal issues pertaining to the case.
The Bar Council wholly and resolutely condemns the circulation and the contents of the said poster which is issued to intimidate, threaten and oppress a member of the Malaysian Bar in the discharge of his functions and role as a lawyer. Our justice system demands that parties be given the right to be heard, and justice is dispensed by the Courts having heard the parties. Hence, it is the duty of every Advocate & Solicitor to present and state his client’s case without fear or favour, and it is under the protection of our Courts that an Advocate & Solicitor is able to freely and fairly advance his client’s case, no matter how unpalatable or offensive his or her argument or version of facts may appear to any other party.
This attack on a member of the Malaysian Bar for taking up a certain position in Court for and on behalf of his client can only be described as shameful. In fact, this attack is not confined to an individual lawyer. It is also an assault against the fundamentals of our justice system.
In this regard, the Bar Council calls on the authorities to launch an immediate investigation to identify the party or parties responsible for this act. The individuals responsible need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Malaysian society must react to show that there is no room for death threats or any similar acts of intimidation in our civilised society.
Dated 21 August 2006
Yeo Yang Poh