Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bar Council speaks about the legitamacy of "crossing over"

Thought that it might be interesting for us to have a look and see what the Bar Council has to say about 'cross-overs' of wakil rakyats - from one party to another...

Malaysian Bar Council

No. 13, 15 & 17, Leboh Pasar Besar, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 03-2031 3003 (Hunting Line) Fax: 03-2034 2825, 2026 1313, 2072 5818

Press Statement: The Bar is apolitical

The Bar Council refers to the statement by UMNO Youth's Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan reported at page 4 of the Star dated 8 September 2008 in relation to the issue of "cross-overs".

The Bar never participates in party politics nor in partisan politics. Thus, the Bar has deliberately declined to comment on the political issues facing the nation. Nonetheless, the public goading by the Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan and queries by the Press have necessitated a response. Hence, this comment is strictly limited to the legal issues raised by the subject of political cross-overs.

Cross-overs are not new in Malaysia. The law of the land in relation to "cross-overs" has long been settled in the case of Dewan Undangan Negeri Kelantan & Anor v Nordin Salleh & Anor decided in 1992 by a 5-member panel of the Supreme Court, our highest Court. The Court struck down provisions of the Constitution of the State of Kelantan that sought to prevent such cross-overs on the basis that it offended the fundamental right to freedom of association enshrined in Artcle 10 (1) (c) of the Federal Constitution.

In the case of Nordin Salleh, the plaintiffs were elected to the Kelantan State Assembly during the 1990 General Elections on the PAS ticket. The plaintiffs subsequently resigned their memberships in PAS, and joined the Barisan Nasional. The Supreme Court decision upheld the constitutional right of the Plaintiffs to "cross-over" to Barisan National and held that the right to freedom of association under the Federal Constitution includes the right to disassociate. Similar situations have arisen in the State of Sabah in 1994 when members of the Sabah State Assembly from the PBS crossed over to Barisan Nasional thereby reversing the original majority in favour of the PBS to the Barisan Nasional.

As it stands therefore there is no legal impediment to "cross-overs" by members of political parties.

Dato' Ambiga Sreenevasan
Malaysian Bar
9 September 2008


I do not think that the the Bar is or should be apolitical. I do not believe that the Bar never really intended to state that it was apolitical.

The Bar is independent - not belonging or supporting any particular political party or coalition.

APOLITICAL - certainly not. The Malaysian Bar, the Bar Council or each and any Malaysian must definitely be political. (Politics is certainly not just about political party and general elections,....)

All of us have to be concerned and interested in all aspects of Malaysian society - economic, social, political, etc...

Meaning of 'apolitical' according to Merriam-Webster online dictionary
1: having no interest or involvement in political affairs; also : having an aversion to politics or political affairs
: having no political significance

Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions. The term is generally applied to behavior within civil governments, but politics has been observed in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic, and religious institutions.

Politics consists of "social relations involving authority or power" and refers to the regulation of a political unit, and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy.

Aristotle asserted that man is, by nature, a political animal. He argued that ethics and politics are closely linked, and that a truly ethical life can only be lived by someone who participates in politics.


Anonymous said...

Hello Charles.

I agree with you. Politics and society are so closely intertwined that it is almost impossible to remain apolitical, especially more so for the Malaysian Bar Council.

Anonymous said...

Hello Charles.

I agree with you. Politics and society are so closely intertwined that it is almost impossible to remain apolitical, especially more so for the Malaysian Bar Council.

Ikrak said...

The trouble with this Muslim Malay bastard UMNO is that they think that they are the only group of people in Malaysia who can decide what is right.

I am a Muslim and a Malay. I am really sick of the UMNO bastards.

It is high time we kick them out of power for forever and jail everyone of them!!!!

Please post my comment.

Anonymous said...

It's good that The Bar Council responded and true to their profession. Actually the Bar Council should just ignore this UMNO goons.Clown and hypocrite.

Starmandala said...

Thank you for posting this, Charles. I think it's a very significant statement from Ambiga on behalf of the Bar Council. And you are quite correct in pointing out that the word "apolitical" doesn't quite apply in such instances.

Anonymous said...

I sincerely salute the PM - despite many misgivings about him - on his firm stance on those racist pigs in umno..
People like these have no place in our society and its time we sent them packing back to indon !!

Anonymous said...

These UMNO blockheads are tasting their own medicine. Need not even try to educate them, their mindset is just UMNO's laws...arrogance and ignorance.