LETTER

Lingam tape: Will lawyers be even bothered?

Amer Hamzah Arshad

Published
Modified 29 Jan 2008, 10:21 am

I refer to the Malaysiakini report Video links CJ to 'judicial fixing' scandal .

Many have expressed their views, comments and disgust on the VK Lingam video . The Bar Council has also announced that they will convene a special meeting tomorrow to discuss this sordid episode. The outcome of the meeting as far as I am concerned will be predictable - the council will issue a press statement, refer VK to the disciplinary board and convene an EGM and pass a resolution (for whatever it's worth). But are these measures enough?

If we are talking about any other issue such as a 'rice bowl' issue, I may be contented. However, the present issue which we are facing is something that is so serious which warrants some form of immediate and effective action to send a strong message to the public and the world at large. This begs the question of what else we lawyers can do?

I, for one, would call upon the members of the Bar to rally together and have a peaceful demonstration at the Palace of Justice and submit a memo to the Chief Justice of Malaya and the Chief Justcie of Sabah and Sarawak calling upon them to investigate this matter. If lawyers in Pakistan can rally to uphold the integrity of their judiciary, why can't the Malaysian lawyers do the same?

We should also march to the Istana Negara and submit a memo to the Yang Di Pertuan Agong and the Malay Rulers calling for a royal commission to investigate this matter.

I know that there may be some lawyers who have reservations about having a peaceful demonstration. But my question to them is - do we want to have a deathbed regret? Let's not have 'what if' thoughts when we are on our deathbeds, wondering if there was something else that we could have done other than merely attending the EGM and issuing statement and comments.

It would be a farce if all that we do is to just talk and discuss about this matter along the corridors of the court, the 'warung kopi' and in meetings and not take any serious action. We can joke and laugh about the video and treat it like another episode of the VK Lingam chronicles. We have had these kind of debates numerous times. We condemn, and we criticise and then we go back to the comfort of our beds and sleep.

I, for one, do not want to sleep on it anymore. Enough is enough. Lawyers are good when it comes to preaching about democracy and the right to peaceful assembly. In fact, some of us are willing to even take up a test case for that right. But why are we so reluctant to have a peaceful demonstrations to protest against such travesty ourselves?

It is sad if the Bar Council doesn't take the lead in this matter. Don't let someone else fight for our cause. We have to stand up and fight for it ourselves.

It's either we keep our mouth shut or do something about it (and by doing something I don't mean merely having an EGM or issuing statements). We have to take action and the time is now. It's now or never and to quote Malcolm X, 'by any means necessary'.

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