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Interesting Bar Council EGM expected on Friday Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 May 2012

Bernama
By Alan Ting

KUALA LUMPUR, May 10 (Bernama) -- The Bar Council's extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Friday, may see many interesting arguments as some lawyers are planning to turn up in full force to present their case on the 12 resolutions to be tabled.

Sources said these lawyers, who mostly take the 'middle ground' position, were keen to voice their views although they do know that chances of the 12 motions being adopted are high.

"Some lawyers have reservations about some of the motions. They agree on some of the motions, such as renewing the call for the IPCMC (Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission) but not on the resolution for a public apology from the home minister and IGP (inspector-general of police).

"This is because they feel that they should let investigations be completed first," said a Penang-based lawyer who declined to be identified.

Some lawyers, he noted, were cautious about making comments at this juncture, as they preferred to express themselves at the EGM.

"Some lawyers, including senior lawyers, do not want to openly voice their opinions now since they know that the moment they do that, they will be subjected to a lot of criticism," he said.

The Bar Council's EGM includes resolutions alleging that the police used "excessive force" and condemnation of the "tactics of the police" to disperse demonstrators.

The motions also call on the police to identify "errant personnel and surrender them for prosecution" and that the government pays fair compensation to those assaulted at the Bersih 3.0 or Kotor 3.0 (depending on who one speaks to) demonstration on April 28.

The EGM, which was proposed by Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee, will require a quorum of 500 members.

Lawyers such as Tan Keng Liang had suggested that some resolutions be revised like assisting all Malaysians affected by street demonstrations, irrespective of who they were.

He said the council should assist local traders, business people, taxi drivers and others who suffered financial losses, and media personnel, lawyers or police personnel who were assaulted as a result of the demonstrations.

"I hope the Malaysian Bar would uphold the principles of justice for all, not limit to a select group of people as it has to be seen as impartial," he added.

Senior lawyer Roger Tan, when contacted, said he did not think that the resolutions would be passed unanimously, based on the current wordings of some of the resolutions, as some lawyers might find it difficult to support them.

Another lawyer, Ivan Chen, said he would also not vote for the resolutions, as he believed it was unfair to criticise any party, including the police, at this juncture since the government had already announced that there would be a panel of inquiry.

"Why jump to conclusions? There were also police officers injured. Look at the traffic policeman (who was injured). He was only a traffic policeman, but was attacked. When you speak up as a professional body, you have to speak for all," he said.

Some lawyers, when contacted, revealed that they were unlikely to attend the EGM as they claimed the Bar Council had already made its stand after the rally and that there was no need for the EGM to be called.

However, the Bar Council's Lim was reported to have defended the call for the EGM, saying that it was still the most appropriate forum for its members to air their views.

Lawyer Tan Foong Loong said: "I will hear out what the Bar Council has to say (first). Maybe, there will be more evidence, then I will decide what to do."

So, the question is: How many of the 13,000 lawyers in the country will attend on Friday? Past records show that attendance at EGMs was around 300 or so.

In fact, the Bar Council has had to postpone some of its AGMs and EGMs in the past due to lack of quorum. Following that, the Legal Profession Act was amended in 2006 to reduce the quorum required to conduct an AGM or EGM, as well as allow junior lawyers to contest for elections.

With the amendment, the required quorum for an AGM or EGM is now 500 members, instead of the previous one-fifth of the Bar Council's membership.


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