Saturday, October 10, 1998

When a lawyer gets arrested... (Motion - sentiments accepted)

The EGM of the Malaysian Bar held at the Renaissance Hotel, Kuala Lumpur - Saturday, 10 October 1998

Motion 4:


1. One of the objects of the Malaysian Bar is to represent, protect and assist members of the legal profession in Malaysia and to promote in any proper manner the interests of the legal profession in Malaysia;

2. And another of the objects is to afford pecuniary and other assistance to members or to former members of the Malaysian Bar and to wives, widows, children and other dependents, whether of members, former members or deceased members who are in need of such assistance;

3. Noting also the fact of the increasing probability that members of the Bar may be arrested and detained by the police, and also subjected to possible further detention under the powers accorded to the police by virtue of Section 117 of the Criminal Procedure Code in matters in connection with their brief and/or client-solicitor relationship. A recent example of this being the case of Leonard Teoh.

4. Noting also that members of the Bar are also possible victims of laws that provide for detention without trial, whereby detention would include all forms of restriction orders, be it under the Internal Security Act 1960, Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969, Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 and the Restricted Residence Enactment 1933. A recent example being the case of Zulkifli Nordin who was detained under the Internal Security Act, 1960.

Therefore This House Resolves That:-

1. The Bar Council, whenever such arrests and detention take place be it under any laws that are in connection with the said lawyer’s brief OR arrests and detention under the laws that provide for detention without trial takes place, takes immediate action by making its stand or position openly and clearly that it is perturbed and opposed of such actions of the police or other authorities, by the issuance of a media statement and by whatever other means deemed appropriate.

2. The Bar Council takes immediate action to ensure that legal matters, handled by the said advocate and solicitor, be looked into to ensure that adjournments are sought, etc. with regard to litigation matters, and whatever other assistance be rendered to ensure the smooth discharge of the said advocate and solicitor’s duties in connection with his/her legal practice during the period of his/her detention.

3. That the Bar Council takes immediate action to ensure that family members and dependents of the said advocate and solicitor receive the necessary support and assistance, including legal and pecuniary assistance, if possible.

4. That the Bar Council work together with the State Bar Committees, to set up mechanisms to ensure immediate responses to the abovementioned tasks and responsibilities.

Proposer: Mr Charles Hector Fernandez
Seconder: Mr Bala Subramaniam


The House agreed with the Chairman that the Motion be treated as sentiments of the House and that Mr Charles Hector look at the system in England and come up with some concrete proposals for the Bar Council to consider.

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