Thursday, October 30, 2008

Without Fear or Favour

Section 42 (1) (a) of the Legal Profession Act 1976 reads "To uphold the cause of justice without regard to its own interests or that of its members, uninfluenced by fear or favour".


Last week I received an invitation to the opening ceremony of LawAsia 2008 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, followed by welcome reception at Carcosa.

I always find speeches delivered during opening ceremony of formal occasions are typically boring and 'diplomatic', well that is why I'm not really a big fan of getting myself stuck in this kind of occasion. Lepak2 at mamak is way more interesting as we can freely talk about almost anything from childhood memories to world's revolutionary movement.

Sitting on stage, were our Prime Minister, Madam President Ambiga, Chairman of LawAsia Committee and Chairman of the Organizing Committee, waiting for their turns to deliver their speeches.

Madam President Ambiga started delivering her speech by reciting John Donne’s famous piece “For whom the bell tolls”...

She mentioned about economic uncertainty in the US and in the Europe and somewhere along the line she mentioned about rule of law..interesting! well, I don't know why these words (rule of law) have never failed to get my attention.

It got more interesting when she courageously talked about repressive Internal Security Act which licences detention without trial. It was courageous of her to talk about it openly in the presence of the Prime Minister, tanpa perlu berdolak dalih untuk menjaga hati atau berdiplomatik tidak bertempat which i believe most peope would do just to look good or in a friendlier term "cuba untuk berdiplomasi" which in my understanding "diplomasi tak bertempat" or in a harsher term "penakut dan takut untuk menyatakan kebenaran".

And I quote:

"Prime Minister, while it may still be in your means to do so, and as a historic legacy to this nation that both you and I love, I ask you, on behalf of all right-thinking Malaysians and on behalf of the legal fraternity of Malaysia, to move to ABOLISH THE I.S.A.! "

Right after she finished her speech, it was our Prime Minister's turn to deliver his speech and officiate LawAsia 2008.

I could remember Pak Lah quoting one particular Quranic Verse which happened to be one of my favourite verses of the Quran :

"If you do judge, judge between them justly. God loves the just.(Our'an: 5:42)"

Isn't it ironic? For ISA knows no judge, for ISA denies you the right to be judged.

Sedangkan Tuhan Yang Sempurna itu mengadili hamba-hambanya di Hari Pengadilan.

While I was talking to Cecil at the welcome reception, he introduced me to one gentleman from Australia, he told me that he was proud that the President of the Bar had so much courage to talk about detention without trial laws in the presence of the Prime Minister.

He said back in 2003, when LawAsia was held in Australia, in the midst of strong resistance of repressive anti-terrorism laws which allow detention without trial, he wished he had the courage to expressly declare the resistance openly, in the presence of John Howard, one of the strongest supporters of Bush's war on terror propaganda.

lesson learnt:

Katakan kebenaran walaupun ia sukar.

Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him),
"Whoever among you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand [by taking action]; if he cannot, then with his tongue [by speaking out]; and if he cannot, then with his heart [by hating it and feeling that it is wrong] – and that is the weakest of faith" (Narrated by Muslim, 49)

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