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Sivarasa denied stay from disqualification as Bar Council member

The Kuala Lumpur High Court today rejected lawyer-cum-politician R Sivarasas request for a stay of execution on his disqualification as a member of the Bar Council.

High Court judge Faiza Tamby Chik, who called for both Sivarasa and the Attorney-Generals Chambers to hand in written submissions, said that there was no need for a stay of execution as any decision he makes on the issue will stand.

If I say that the applicant wins, the applicant wins. If I say otherwise the applicant loses. Why the need for a stay? Faiza said.

Sivarasa, who is also PRM vice-president, is challenging a provision in the Legal Profession Act which prohibits Bar Council members from taking leadership posts in political parties.

Without the stay of execution, he will not be able to vote on the Bar Councils new leadership in its annual general meeting next Saturday.

The most important duty of a Bar Council member is to participate in the election of office bearers and each vote matters, said Sivarasas counsel Tommy Thomas.

Sivarasas role is important and he must be allowed that right to vote which is accorded to him, Thomas said.

However, the judge said the case was an important one and he has to be careful as he does not want to intrude on the jurisdiction of Parliament.

The court interprets what Parliament gives and if a person is given the death sentence, I am not the one to send him to death but Parliament.

I am still with my judgment, Faiza said, although he added that he was open to persuasion.

Substantive merits to be heard

The suit which was originally struck out by Faiza on Aug 22 last year, was sent back to him when a three-member Court of Appeal panel ruled Jan 29 that the case should not be disqualified on a technical basis, forcing Faiza to hear the substantive merits of the case.

Sivarasa filed his application on Aug 8 in 2001 to prevent his disqualification as a member of the Bar Council, naming the Malaysian Bar and the government as respondents.

In the wake of Sivarasas application, a group of 75 lawyers had requisitioned for an extraordinary general meeting of the Malaysian Bar last year to censure the leadership for allegedly contradicting a Bar resolution passed in 1978.

The resolution criticised the government for amending the Legal Profession Act to include the controversial section that is now being challenged by Sivarasa.

The government is represented by senior federal counsel Azahar Mohamed who is assisted by Alice Loke while the Bar Council is represented by Bastion Vendargon, Cyrus V Das and Hamid Sultan.

The hearing will resume on April 18.

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