Hendon tops Malaysian Bar election
Monday, 03 December 2018

The Star 

By Clarissa Chung

PETALING JAYA: Past president Hendon Mohamed has clinched the top spot in the Malaysian Bar election to pick 12 council members for the 2019/2020 term.

The veteran lawyer, 80, gained 3,375 votes.

About 19,000 ballots were issued to Bar members eligible to vote, but only 5,512 voted, according to the Malaysian Bar website.

Hendon was the Malaysian Bar president from 1995 to 1997 as well as the first Malay woman to be admitted to the Bar.

She said she was pleasantly surprised to have received the most votes in the annual election.

“However, it is nothing special. I only want to concentrate on giving back to the Bar and to society – that is the whole essence of the Bar Council,” she said yesterday.

Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah took second spot with 2,691 votes, followed by outgoing Bar secretary Roger Chan at 2,643 votes.

Other members elected to the Bar Council are Karen Cheah, Ravindran Nekoo, Muhammad Rafique Rashid, Mohamad Ezri Abdul Wahab, Andrew Khoo, Lukman Sheriff Alias, Datuk Roger Tan, Salim Bashir and Yusfarizal Yusoff.

Tan said while it was encoura­ging to see more lawyers voting for this term, it was also “disheartening” that about 70% of them were “not bothered” about the process.

“We must take an urgent look at the entire voting process,” said the senior lawyer.

Muhammad Rafique, who was voted in for a second time, said he was “extremely humbled” to serve on the council again.

“However, the feeling of elation is laced with a tinge of disappointment as only 29% of voters returned their ballot papers,” he said, adding that the Bar should look into this “staggering statistic”.

Cheah, a former Bar secretary, suggested the Bar consider e-voting to encourage voter turnout.

“Generally, voter turnout for the election is about 18% to 20%, so this year has a higher turnout. But the numbers can improve,” she said.

She added that she hoped more would be done to encourage female representation as woman lawyers made up 53% of the Malaysian Bar.