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Judiciary not jeopardised by gala dancing video - Malaysian Bar

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The integrity of the administration of justice would not be jeopardised just because chief justice Richard Malanjum, attorney-general Tommy Thomas and de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong danced together, said Malaysian Bar president George Varughese.

In a statement today, he said the Malaysian Bar was astounded by the "outlandish reaction and baseless criticisms" levelled by certain quarters over a video clip showing top judges, lawyers and Tommy sharing the dance stage during a Legal Year gala dinner on Jan 18.

"Social gathering and events involving various or all stakeholders in the administration of justice, where the participants interact in an informal setting, are far from new and have been commonplace occasions for numerous years.

"Judiciary remains wholly independent in carrying out its role of dispensing justice, and is not compromised as a result of such social events," he said.

"The calls for the resignations of the chief justice and the attorney-general, and for the chief justice to be referred to a tribunal for alleged misconduct, are thus utterly erroneous, misplaced and unwarranted," he said.

"We condemn all attempts to politicise this innocuous social event," Varughese added.

In the video, Liew, Malanjum and Thomas, among other guests, were dancing to Chubby Checker's Let's Twist Again.

The video has drawn flak, even from Pakatan Harapan leaders and supporters.

Lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla said the video created a bad perception of judicial independence, as the public could see it as a threat to the separation of powers between the executive and judiciary.

PKR leadership council member Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, meanwhile, reminded Harapan leaders to be consistent in their criticisms – as they had in 2016 questioned former attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali for dancing with several former ministers during a Merdeka day celebration.

Others who spoke up to defend the trio included lawyer Eric Paulsen, who tweeted that guests attending the annual function are expected to chat and mingle with others from the legal fraternity.

The Sabah Law Society had defended Liew, Thomas and Malanjum, saying that they are able to keep their personal and professional lives separate.

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