Fellow Members of the Bar,
I don’t know about you, but I always find the Bar Council’s Extra Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) cumbersome, if not, downright a nuisance. I am aware that the Bar Council is an independent body, presided by democratically elected representatives, to champion the right of lawyers – well, theoratically, at least.
However, more often than not, I find the Bar Council’s meddling with the political affairs of the country redundant to the interest of the lowly practitioner, such as myself.
That aside, this Saturday’s EGM is one of a kind. This Saturday’s EGM is to get our voices across of how unjust Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) has been politically abused in our homeland. ISA is a blatant infringement of your human rights. ISA serves no purpose vis-a-vis the current political debacle in Malaysia. History proves that the ruling government has invoked the ISA on trivial basis not related to the security of the nation.
Therefore, via Circular No. 235/208, the Bar Council resolves as follows:
1. The Malaysian Bar strongly condemns the arrests of Raja Petra Kamaruddin, Tan Hoon Cheng and Teresa Kok and strongly calls upon the Government to immediately and unconditionally release Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Teresa Kok, who are still being detained.
2. The Malaysian Bar strongly calls upon the Government to immediately and unconditionally release all persons presently detained without trial, including Manoharan a/l Malayalam, Uthayakumar a/l Ponnusamy, Kengadharan a/l Ramasamy, Ganabatirau a/l Veraman and Vasantha Kumar a/l Krishnan, who were ordered to be detained for two years from 13 December 2007.
3. The Malaysian Bar strongly calls upon the Government to immediately repeal the ISA and all other laws that allow for the detention of persons without trial such as the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 and Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985.
4. The Malaysian Bar strongly condemns the issuance of the three show-cause letters to Sin Chew Daily, The Sun and Suara Keadilan and strongly calls upon the Government to immediately withdraw the show-cause letters.
5. The Malaysian Bar calls upon the Government to uphold its pledges to the United Nations Human Rights Council to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms and to promote a free media, including in cyberspace.
6. The Malaysian Bar calls upon the Government to demonstrate its commitment to, and to uphold, the Rule of Law as enshrined in the Federal Constitution and the Rukunegara.
Since I want to live in a country where the voices of my children and grandchildren will be heard – without fear or favor – this EGM is the one I would attend without my normal grunts.
Quorum of 500 lawyers needed to move the motion. You and I can make a difference.