March 14

Motion to censure Bar Council president thrown out

Lawyers at the Bar Council annual general meeting (AGM) today overwhelmingly defeated a motion to censure its president Christopher Leong for allegedly making disparaging remarks against the judiciary.  V. Anbalagan and Elizabeth Zachariah from the Malaysian Insider report:


The vote was taken at 2.30pm after close to two hours of debating and 1,194 members voted against the motion while 169 were for it.

Among those who spoke against the motion were Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, Tommy Thomas and Manjeet Singh Dhillon.

The motion, proposed by Faidhur Abdul Hadi and seconded by Aidil Khalid, had called for Leong to retract a February 11 press release by him titled, “Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim: Prosecuted or persecuted?” and to further call upon him to tender a public apology to the judiciary for bringing the court into contempt and misleading the Malaysian Bar.

Leong’s press release came after the five-men bench of the Federal court convicted Anwar, who is Malaysia’s opposition leader, of sodomy on February 10.

The motion by the group also expressly stated that the incoming Bar Council president is to implement all their demands within 14 days, if Leong does not fulfil it.

Faidhur and Aidil are believed to be part of the group of 100 lawyers who had previously said Leong’s remark was a direct attack on the Federal Court without any legal basis and brought the nation’s highest court into disrepute and odium.

Soon after the apex court affirmed Anwar’s conviction and sentence on February 10, Leong had said there was a perception that the accused was persecuted, fuelled by “glaring anomalies”, including not charging complainant Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

Leong said the charge against Anwar was based on a provision of the Penal Code that was rarely used, but this was later refuted by Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail.

Leong said Anwar had been prosecuted and convicted twice for an alleged offence of sexual acts between adults, wherein the charge does not contain elements of coercion.

The Federal Court which found Anwar guilty of sodomising his former aide Saiful in a condominium unit at Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur in 2008, also upheld the opposition leader’s five-year jail term. – March 14, 2015.


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