Senior lawyers have called for the Malaysian Bar and the authorities to act on allegations of “case fixing”, adding that public confidence in the legal profession must be preserved.
They added this would be the best time for the Malaysian Bar, Attorney-General’s Chambers and the judiciary to come together and discuss ways to solve the problem.
They were commenting on Twentytwo13’s article – Malaysian Bar must probe allegations of ‘case fixing’, restore public confidence in legal profession – published on Monday.
Datuk Akberdin Abdul Kader pointed out that the Malaysian Bar can initiate its own investigations despite certain quarters claiming it did not have the authority to do so.
“Action must be taken against those involved. That goes without saying. The Malaysian Bar can initiate its own investigations via the disciplinary committee. There’s also the Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board,” said Akberdin.
“The Malaysian Bar can suspend, fine or even bar a lawyer found guilty of misconduct. And if there are criminal aspects, like corruption or criminal defamation involved, then the relevant parties can investigate.”
Akberdin added several prominent names in the legal fraternity have been hauled up by the Malaysian Bar in the past, and that such precedence had been set.
“There is no reason why the Malaysian Bar should not take action, if required.
“I’m a lawyer as well, and of course, I would not like it if people just came up to me and made allegations against me. So, we have to be fair to all the parties involved. Allegations remain allegations, but if there is evidence to the effect, then action must be taken.”
In Monday’s article, Twentytwo13 reported it was time for the Malaysian Bar to play a more proactive role after two senior lawyers were linked to a series of text messages which hinted that court decisions could be influenced.
The recent episode comes a year after former Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali’s damning allegation, which implicated a senior lawyer and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
While the Malaysian Bar commented on the latest issue, it was silent with regard to Apandi’s claims.
Senior lawyer Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos was quoted in the Monday article as saying: “However, in this latest case, the Chief Justice has done the right thing to protect the reputation of the judiciary by lodging a police report. The Malaysian Bar may want to conduct its own internal investigation.
He added that: “Without closure, the allegations against the judiciary and legal profession will go undefended. It will not look good, especially in the international arena.”
Datuk Selva Mookiah said he agreed with Jahaberdeen’s take on the matter.
“The Malaysian Bar has to take leadership in safeguarding the integrity of the profession and the judiciary. This is not specific to any incident and is made in general, taking into account issues affecting the profession and the judiciary in recent years,” said Selva.
“Towards this end, the AGC, judiciary and the Malaysian Bar have to work together in addressing such issues.”
Datuk Haaziq Pillay said issuing statements alone was insufficient.
“There should be action. The Malaysian Bar should sit down with the AGC, judiciary and even relevant enforcement agencies like the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC),” said Haaziq.
“MACC has wide powers to investigate such allegations thoroughly. Internally, the Malaysian Bar can initiate its own investigation when such claims arise, as the body is supposed to protect the interests of lawyers. They must get involved.”
Haaziq added that the Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board could also play a leading role when such claims are made.