* There were media reports the day before that gave the wrong impression that the Malaysian Bar had called for a RALLY or PROTEST at Bukit Aman when 3 members were to be question. The turnout of about 40 at Bukit Aman was taken by some as a lack of support from Malaysian Bar members. The notice that provided information to members of the Bar was send out just the afternoon of the day preceeding the appointment at Bukit Aman, and members were asked to turn up and show support...If it was a rally or a protest of the Malaysian Bar, lawyers will turn out in hundreds and even thousands. In the last protest March by the Bar, which was for the repeal of the Sedition Act, about 2,000 lawyers turned up and marched to Parliament... I am sure that if the Bar called for a RALLY or PROTEST, the numbers that will turn up will certainly be large..
Lawyers at Bukit Aman did not rally or protest, says Bar
"It wasn't a protest or a rally. I don't know where you got the idea that it was," Bar vice-president George Varughese told Malaysiakini today.
The Bar Council had only asked the members of the Bar to gather there to show support for their fellow members called by the police to give their statements for the police investigation under Section 4(1)(a) of the Sedition Act.
Even so, Varughese said, he does not think the turnout was disappointing, as Malaysiakini reported, because there were many factors to consider, with the main one being that it was in the afternoon of a working day.
"Many members I know had wanted to come but informed us via e-mail that they were stuck in court and things like that.
"Considering that the (three) members were just giving a statement, the numbers that turned up was not at all disappointing," he said.
One of the lawyers who had his witness statement recorded yesterday, Charles Hector, echoed Varughese in that there was no call for a protest or rally.
The problem, Hector added, was that people got the wrong impression because of previous news reports on the issue.
The circular by the Bar Council on this matter issued the evening before the questioning by the police, he further explained, was more to inform the members of the Bar on what was happening and to invite them to come and support their fellow members.
Like Varughese, Hector also pointed out that the questioning took place in the evening on a working day and that nobody was sure how long it was going to take.
"The fact that 40 people turned up was quite good, given the fact that it was such a late notice (as well)," he added.
Stressing again that it wasn't a rally or protest, Hector (photo) said the people who turned up were mainly "friends and concerned lawyers".
Three lawyers were called in by the police for their witness statements to be recorded yesterday, in connection with a motion tabled at the recent Malaysian Bar annual general meeting that called on attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali to resign.
DAP Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, who also attended the gathering outside Bukit Aman while the lawyers were having their statements recorded, had tweeted that there was a "disappointing turnout".
Other than Hector, the other two summoned to the police headquarters were Francis Pereira and R Shanmugam.
The three were the ones who proposed the motion seeking Apandi's resignation as attorney-general at the Bar's AGM that was held on March 19.
Earlier yesterday, the Bar’s secretary Karen Cheah also had her statement recorded at the Bar Council secretariat.
The Bar president Steven Thiru agreed with Hector on the invitation to its members being sent out on short notice, adding that the two interviews took place at two different places in a short period of time.
"Presumably, it would have been difficult for members to rearrange prior commitment on such short notice.
"It is thus commendable that despite all these prevailing circumstances, a total of 60 members attended at both venues (Bar Council secretariat and Bukit Aman police headquarters)," Thiru told Malaysiakini.
However, he stressed that it is misleading and disingenuous to suggest that the support for the Bar be measured in the number of members present yesterday.
"The Malaysian Bar is united against any attempt to encroach on, or to interfere with, the statutory duties and rights of the Bar and members of the Bar under the Legal Profession Act 1976 .
"The efforts and steps taken by the Bar Council to defend these statutory rights and duties would undoubtedly be supported by members of the Bar," he said. - Malaysiakini, 1/4/2016