Nazri says will study forming second Malaysian Bar
KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 — Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz has agreed to look into forming a second Malaysian Bar as an alternative for lawyers who disagree with the present Bar Council’s alleged pro-opposition stand.
Calling the council an “opposition party”, the de facto law minister told The Malaysian Insider that many lawyers have expressed disappointment in the council’s leadership under Lim Chee Wee but had no other choice but to be members of the Malaysian Bar.
During the association’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) last week, lawyer Abu Backer Sidek had told reporters that he no longer wanted to be a part of the “stupid” Malaysian Bar, which he accused of being biased.
He suggested the formation of another Malaysian Bar as an alternative for those who shared his views.
“Yes, I would like to talk to him (Abu) and the Attorney-General to see if there is a possibility of setting up another Bar,” Nazri told The Malaysian Insider..
The Padang Rengas MP said this would be in addition to the proposal to set up a law academy for those who graduated in the field but are not practising lawyers.
In Bernama Online two days ago, Nazri was quoted as saying that the academy would be soon be raised in Cabinet and discussed with the A-G.
“The current Bar Council will proceed, of course. But that does not stop us from forming a law academy to cater to law graduates who are not practising law... Professors, lecturers, those in the Attorney-General’s Chambers, those in the corporate sector... those without an association,” he told The Malaysian Insider when asked to elaborate.
The Umno veteran added that there was presently a “monopoly” over the law fraternity by the Bar Council, which has now become an “opposition party”.
“All these years, the government did not want to go ahead with setting up this academy, thinking that the council could run its functions effectively.
“But now, it seems it has become an opposition party,” he said.
Nazri faulted Lim for the change and repeated his challenge for a political face-off with the latter in Padang Rengas during the next general election.
“I challenge Chee Wee — from one man to another man. Make sure you have the guts.
“I will wait for him during election at Padang Rengas... I will wait for him enthusiastically, so come, be a man, be a man like Nazri is,” he said.
Nazri added that Lim should only be allowed to speak like a politician if he succeeds in getting elected.
Failing which, Lim should concentrate on running the council fairly and clean from politics, Nazri said, adding that the council was merely a “toothless cat”.
Nazri noted that those who voted in support of the pro-Bersih 3.0 motion during last week’s EGM were not representative of the entire over 14,000-members Malaysian Bar.
Of the 1,270 members who turned up last week, 939 voted in favour of the motion while 16 voted against.
The motion comprised a 12-point resolution condemning the police for allegedly using excessive force to disperse protesters during the Bersih 3.0 rally for free and fair elections.
“Come on... they could not even run the EGM properly. How could they be voting that way, by show hands? The last time we did that was when I was elected captain of the Green House (sports team) in school,” Nazri sniped.
The Malaysian Insider previously reported Lim as dismissing accusations by the Cabinet minister calling the Bar Council prejudiced, as well as clamours for its dissolution.
Lim said the council “cannot be dissolved” under the Legal Profession Act but its members could propose motions of no-confidence against council members.
The April 28 Bersih 3.0 rally, which saw tens of thousands throng the city’s streets, erupted into chaos shortly before 3pm when several protesters breached the police barricades surrounding Dataran Merdeka.
The breach prompted police to fire volleys of tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters who ran helter-skelter through small alleyways and main road arteries within the city to escape the bombardment.
But the Bar Council has insisted, based on observations from its team of 78 monitors present in the rally that day, that the police had fired indiscriminately and excessively, even deliberately employing methods that hemmed in protesters and blocked their exits instead of dispersing them.