Thursday, December 31, 2009

Farewell 2009

It's new year's eve. Come to think of it, how time flies.

And my most uttered words for 2009 are "time really flies".I say these words over and over again. Hmm...New year, frankly speaking, there's nothing much to celebrate I would say.

Looking back at what I have done and what I have not done would always make me have mixed feelings.

Every time new year comes, I always feel like my time is running out. Will I ever see 2010 till its end? Well, definitely this is something which is not within my knowledge.hmmm...

Btw,happy new year every one. May we become a better person for the coming year.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Obama’s folly in Afghanistan and the continuing US hypocrisy — Eric Paulsen

DEC 2 — I should divulge that I was one of Barack Obama’s supporters, from the unlikely victory in the US Democratic Party presidential candidate election to one of the most improbable victories in modern political history, an African-American man voted into the US presidency, all the more momentous to me personally as I received the news as I arrived in Pretoria, South Africa’s capital formerly synonymous with apartheid and racism.

Enough has been written about the most improbable victory in a country where several decades earlier, African Americans could not in many states study in the same school, eat in the same restaurant or use the same toilet with the whites. With his great victory came great expectations especially concerning US foreign policy: the shutting down of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, ceasing torture and rendition, peace in the Middle East, a more conciliatory approach towards perceived enemies of the US and a quick end to the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Whilst I understand the real difficulties of affecting real change in the US as in any other countries which profess democracy, constitutionalism and the rule of law; the real disappointment that I have with Obama is that he seemed unable to move away from the US’s self-appointed role or “destiny” (some even say God-appointed) as the most “enlightened”, “just” and “greatest” state in the world that should pull the strings of world politics, economics and social development — that they can do whatever they want with impunity and without any care for the sovereignty of other states and their people. Needless to say, the US does not care about international law especially when they are human rights and humanitarian based. One just need to look at the US’s failure to ratify important international instruments including on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Kyoto Protocol, the International Criminal Court, the Rights of the Child, the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, on Enforced Disappearance, on the Mine Ban and the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture.

Although the US is finally pulling out of Iraq, Obama has just announced that the US will be increasing more troops to Afghanistan, estimated at more than 30,000. This is surely a folly and a serious escalation of an illegal, immoral and discredited war and occupation that will further destabilise not only Afghanistan but Pakistan and cause more destruction, deaths, casualties and refugees. An escalation of troops and belligerence will not provide the US genuine security that they crave but only add another reason for those aggrieved with US foreign policies to retaliate. Shouldn’t they know by now that “terrorists” and “insurgents” attack the US, their allies and interests precisely because of such foreign policies?

The US hypocrisy is breathtaking; to be able to lie with no shame that they are in Afghanistan to fight terrorism, bring democracy and human rights while they disregard all these principles at will when it suits them. If shielding terrorists is a justifiable reason for attacking a sovereign state (as the US has claimed for Afghanistan), then shouldn’t other states be justified to attack the US for their protection of the countless Latin American dictators, torturers and murderers who have fled and granted protection in the US? What about the architects of the US’s wars, bombings and military interventions in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Grenada, Cuba, Panama, the Dominican Republic, the former Yugoslavia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, to name but a few countries, that would have more than a valid case to attack the US if the same yardstick was used.

Similarly, there were no concerns for democracy in occupied Palestine when Hamas won the election or human rights concerns in Saudi Arabia and other US friendly totalitarian states. And let us not forget the US’s past manoeuvring in propping up dictators by overthrowing democratically elected governments in Latin America, most recently in Venezuela but only to be thwarted when the people resisted and reinstalled Hugo Chavez.

Can you just imagine for a moment if countries especially unfavoured ones of the US like China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela or Cuba were to behave just a fraction of what the US are doing at a grand scale? Can you imagine these countries invade or bomb others on false and illegal grounds, commit torture and rendition, detain foreigners without trial indefinitely, fund/ support opposition groups or provide unwavering backing to wicked regimes like Sudan and North Korea (in US’s case Israel)?

Can you imagine for a second if US or Israeli soldiers and civilians were captured/ arrested and their captors unilaterally declare that these soldiers and civilians are “enemy combatants” and therefore not subjected to international law (as the US have done) and detain them in facilities like Guantanamo Bay detention camp? And to take it further, let’s use their euphemisms for torture and subject them to “enhance interrogation techniques” or “alternative set of procedures” such as:

• Prolonged isolation,

• Prolonged sleep deprivation,

• Sensory deprivation,

• Extremely painful "stress positions",

• Sensory bombardment (such as prolonged loud noise and/or bright lights),

• Forced nakedness,

• Sexual humiliation,

• Cultural humiliation (such as desecration of holy scriptures),

• Being subjected to extreme cold that induces hypothermia,

• Exploitation of phobias,

• Simulation of the experience of drowning, i.e. water boarding.

Can you imagine the outrage, flag-waving patriotism, holier-than-thou moralising and tearful pleas from family members of those detained? Or Mexico conducting “targeted” and “precision” bombings in the US on the ground that the US is not doing enough to prevent arms from being smuggled into Mexico? Or China, Iran and Russia setting up military bases around the world especially near the US? If you do not know, the US has 737 military bases around the world, staffed by 2,500,000 US military personnel.

Maybe I am being too harsh. Maybe Obama needs more time as after all he is much more palatable than George Bush Jr. But why must we set our standards so low? Why should we accept the US’s continuing veto of any UN Security Council resolutions on Israel and the continuing obsession with Iran’s nuclear programme whilst accepting the fact that Israel already possesses nuclear weapons and is the country most likely to use them against perceived threats like Iran. In any event, such concerns coming from the US are preposterous as they are the only country in history which had used the nuclear bomb not once but twice — a fact more damning when it was clear by that stage that Japan was on the verge of collapse and had offered terms of surrender.

We should have high expectations for Obama, more so after being named the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Past laureates have generally been people of principles and morals who have struggled and made many sacrifices in order to bring their ideals to fruition. Can we say the same for Obama? Surely you would agree that Obama as he stands now and by ordering the increase of 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, should not be mentioned in the same breath as Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Dalai Lama, and perhaps he would be more comfortable in the company of Henry Kissinger and Yitzhak Rabin, both of whom are also Nobel Peace Prize laureates.

Eric Paulsen is a lawyer and researcher.


As I was waiting for the other side’s lawyer in Court today, one lawyer asked me about the EGM which was going to be held soon. He thought the EGM was going to be held tomorrow. I told him that the EGM is gonna be on 12.12.2009. And the conversation went on:

Him : It’s good that matters are heard expeditiously and decisions are handed down fast. But whether the decision is made after a thorough consideration is another issue.

Me: Yes, we have to admit that Judges are put under pressure because of the KPI, and definitely KPI would be hanging in their minds while they are rushing to hear cases and make decisions. It’s dangerous.

Him : Yes, I agree.

Me: At the end of the day, we lawyers wouldn’t suffer as much as the litigants would.

Him : Things shouldn’t be done at the expense of justice.

Me: I couldn’t agree more. Everything goes back to the basic principle of reasonableness and conscience. When discretion is exercised based on these basic and vital principles, the system will benefit every one and punish those who take things for granted.

Suddenly there was one lawyer entered the court room and came near to where we were sitting. I continued flipping through my submission. A conversation between the lawyer and the new lawyer took place:

Lawyer 1 : So, are you going to the EGM?

New Lawyer : ahhh..I’m fed up with the Bar Council, they don’t do things for their members.

There was a sudden pause. He continued :

New Lawyer : Look at the election, the same old faces....

I looked at him.

Me: Well, as much as you are not happy with the decision, that’s what democracy is all about right?

He kept quiet. I continued:

Me : Did you vote? (while smiling)
New Lawyer : (he just looked at me, no answers given).

I continued flipping through my submission while wondering whether the other side’s lawyer was already there.

The two lawyers’ conversation continued:

New Lawyer: Can we have new Bar Council ar? These people they only care about human rights, and they just ignore their members.

The first thing that popped in my head was “MEDIEVAL”.

I contained myself not to contribute even a word in the conversation. It’s an utter waste of time exchanging opinions with people who don’t even understand the basic underlying principle of a particular subject. At this point in time, silence is the best option. And the moment of silence can be utilized to reflect on a lot of things.

Lawyers. What have we become? We whine because our organization does not hold a peaceful assembly in front of the Palace of Justice to fight for a car park area for us? We whine because our pocket is shrinking and our plans to upgrade our BMW 7 series to God knows how many BMW series have to be put on hold? We whine and whine and whine because those people out there choose to help the less fortunate and not us? And we dare call ourselves lawyers?

What a disgrace.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that rice bowl issues are not important. We too need to survive, that’s the reason why we have to go to work every day. But for lawyers to whine like a little baby who has yet to be fed is just utterly wrong.

Why? Because we still have the means to get our concerns heard and worked on.

What about the less fortunate, oppressed and marginalized people who we envy because they get the extra attention? What about these people who can’t afford to waste even a minute failing which their lives, liberties and rights are at stake? What about them?

Aren’t you a human being yourself? Or your status as a lawyer is so great that it can be allowed to transcend your values as a human being? what about your conscience?

Again, what a disgrace.

Well, after hearing this, I won’t blame the laymen to continue having this stereotypical perception about lawyers : lawyers care about nothing else but money.

Thanks, thank you so much for ruining the nobility of the profession.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Death of Culture

As I was watching AFC channel, in between Nigella Bites and Take Home Chef, there was this one ad that really intrigues me. It started like this.

The narrator : "In Italy, there was a protest when a new fast food restaurant was newly opened.There was one guy standing in front of the restaurant holding a bowl of spaghetti. When asked why did he protest, his answer was"-


Wow, that is just WOW.

Gotta do some reading on this.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kerja dan Cita-Cita

My life has been pretty hectic lately that I hardly have time to blog even though I have so many things on my mind.

Work is pretty hectic but promising.It has been 10 months since I started working at my current firm. There are so many things that I learn along the way, and obviously there's a long way to go.

Sometimes, I can't help but get worried sick about things that are not within my knowledge while handling a particular case. But the good thing is, I get to brush up my research skill and learn to get used to working under pressure. Alhamdulillah.

Nothing is more satisfying than hearing good news from the court at the end of the case. At least this will keep me going in the hope of becoming one helluva good lawyer, just like those lawyers that I look up to, those who never fail to keep me mesmerized, the articulacy, professionalism and substance. Ini adalah cita-citaku, agak tinggi dan berapa tahun lamanya mungkin...

Monday, November 16, 2009

“Terrorism doesn't just blow up buildings; it blasts every other issue off the political map. The spectre of terrorism - real and exaggerated - has become a shield of impunity, protecting governments around the world from scrutiny for their human rights abuses.”

Naomi Klein

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

National Unity?

On 26 October 2009, I got an invitation from The Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI) to speak at the National Unity Forum. Before accepting the invitation, my head just couldn't stop thinking about so many questions. 1 Malaysia, National Unity and the diabolical cow-head protest. Questions after questions, the slogan, the rhetoric and the reality, all these kept on hanging in my mind.

The given topic was The Voice of Young Malaysians – How The Younger Generation Perceives National Unity. After giving it a thought and after consulting my tok guru on this issue, I decided to start my talk by looking at the jurisprudential approach which has heavily influenced my understanding on legal and humanitarian issues.

Oh wait, before the panelists started their talks, the moderator would first introduce the panelists to the floor. I find that my introduction was rather "interesting" as the moderator put that "the next panelist is an interesting person as she is one of the lawyers who got arrested whilst discharging their duties at the police station".

I guess the delegates and I just couldn't contain ourselves but to laugh at the remarks made by the moderator, Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria, who happens to be one of the SUHAKAM Commissioners sitting on SUHAKAM public inquiry into the arrest of 5 legal aid lawyers at the Brickfileds Police Station. It was a good move to keep every one awake I believe :P

So, to sum it up, I had so much fun interacting with the panelists and the delegates. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to share some important insights and perspective with the delegates, ranging from opening up democratic spaces, abolishing draconian laws that hamper democracy and violate human rights, Aristotle's philosophy on the people, being one political community, the spirit of the People's Constitutional Proposal for Malaya drafted by the people 10 years before Independence.

National unity? I believe the answer can be found here.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

My Constitution Campaign : Forum "Conversations on the Constitution: What is the Federal Constitution?"

Dear All,

You are invited to MyConstitution Forum "Conversations on the Constitution: What is the Federal Constitution?"

Date :13 November 2009
Venue : Bar Council Auditorium, Jalan Leboh Pasar
Time : 3.00pm.

Don't miss the opportunity to be part of this campaign by sharing your views with these panelists- Aziz Bari, Azmi Shahrom, Sulaiman Abdullah, Shad Faruqi and Malik Imtiaz.

Open to all!

To find out more about MyConstitution Campaign, you can visit:-

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pusat Bantuan Guaman Majlis Peguam Malaysia.

Artikel oleh Valen Khor(digunakan dengan kebenaran)

Majlis Peguam Malaysia merupakan satu-satunya badan bukan kerajaan di dunia yang memberikan khidmat guaman percuma kepada golongan masyarakat yang kurang berkemampuan tanpa mendapat sebarang tajaan atau sokongan kewangan daripada pihak kerajaan. Setiap peguamcara dan peguambela berdaftar dimestikan mencarum sejumlah wang sebanyak RM100 untuk Tabung Bantuan Guaman setiap tahun bagi membolehkan mereka memperbaharui Sijil Amal Tahunan.

Minggu Kesedaran Undang-Undang Kebangsaan merupakan salah satu aktiviti kepentingan awam Majlis Peguam yang dianjurkan oleh Jawatankuasa Kebangsaan Bantuan Guaman Majlis Peguam Malaysia. Pelancaran Minggu Kesedaran Undang-Undang Kebangsaan tahun ini akan dilancarkan di Sungai Petani, Kedah. Pada peringkat negeri pula, Pusat Bantuan Guaman Majlis Peguam (Kuala Lumpur) yang beroperasi di Wisma Kraftangan, Jalan Tun Perak, Kuala Lumpur merupakan salah satu Pusat Bantuan Guaman yang paling sibuk dengan pelbagai jenis perkhidmatan dan aktiviti kesedaran. Perkhidmatan guaman pada asalnya hanya tertumpu dalam memberikan nasihat guaman dan representasi guaman kepada mereka yang tidak berupaya untuk melantik peguam. Walau bagaimanapun, bidang khidmat Pusat Bantuan Guaman Majlis Peguam telah diperluaskan kepada kes-kes kepentingan awam seperti isu-isu peneroka dan representasi guaman dalam tangkapan beramai-ramai.

Walaupun terdapatnya perkhidmatan guaman disediakan oleh Majlis Peguam kepada mereka yang memerlukan, akan tetapi kebanyakan ahli masyarakat tidak menyedari akan kewujudannya. Meskipun ada golongan yang mempunyai pengetahuan bahawa terdapatnya perkhidmatan tersebut, ada di antara mereka tidak mengetahui tempat dan cara untuk mendapatkan bantuan tersebut.

Jawatankuasa Kebangsaan Bantuan Guaman Majlis Peguam menyedari akan hakikat ini, akan tetapi publisiti yang melebih-lebih tidak semestinya memanfaatkan semua ahli masyarakat yang memerlukan bantuan guaman tersebut. Ini adalah kerana setiap Pusat Bantuan Guaman di negeri-negeri yang berlainan berfungsi dengan bergantung kepada caruman RM100 daripada ahli-ahli Majlis Peguam. Dengan peruntukan kewangan yang terhad, Pusat Bantuan Guaman Majlis Peguam tidak berupaya untuk mengendalikan bilangan kes yang terlampau banyak. Pusat Bantuan Guaman Majlis Peguam tidak ingin memberikan harapan kosong kepada mereka yang datang ke pusat-pusat bantuan guaman mendaftarkan kes mereka tetapi tidak diperuntukkan peguam untuk mengendalikan kesnya.

Keadaan ini menjadi semakin serius apabila badan kehakiman Malaysia memperkenalkan sistem ?fast track? dan mengeluarkan pekeliling supaya penangguhan kes tidak akan diizinkan kecuali dalam keadaan terdesak dan/ atau berkecuali. Pegawai-pegawai kehakiman kini tidak membenarkan penangguhan kes meskipun dalam keadaan di mana tertuduh tidak diwakili oleh peguam dan seterusnya memberi arahan supaya tertuduh membela diri tanpa representasi sekiranya dia masih gagal mendapatkan perkhidmatan guaman di tarikh sebutan akan datang. Dalam keadaan sebegini, sekiranya Pusat Bantuan Guaman mendaftarkan kesemua kes tetapi gagal mendapatkan peguam untuk mewakili anakguam-anakguam tersebut dalam tempoh masa yang ditetapkan oleh mahkamah, maka mereka terpaksa mengendalikan kes itu atas usaha dirinya tanpa representasi guaman. Sekiranya hal sedemikian berlaku, ia bagaikan satu janji kosong yang diberi oleh Pusat Bantuan Guaman dan seterusnya memudaratkan kepentingan anakguam tersebut kerana hak asasinya untuk mendapatkan representasi guaman telah dinafikan.

Oleh kerana ramainya orang yang memohon untuk bantuan guaman dan kekurangan peguam, Pusat Bantuan Guaman Majlis Peguam terpaksa menetapkan satu ujian kemampuan untuk menentusahkan mereka yang memang daripada golongan berpendapatan rendah sebelum kes mereka diterima supaya bilangan kes yang didaftarkan tidak melebihi keupayaan pusat bantuan guaman untuk memperuntukkan peguam kepada anakguam. Pusat Bantuan Guaman Majlis Peguam sering mengalami kesukaran dalam mendapatkan peguam sukarelawan untuk mengendalikan kes-kes yang didaftarkan. Hal ini kerana peguam-peguam sukarelawan yang mengendalikan kes-kes daripada Pusat Bantuan Guaman tidak dibayar sebarang yuran dan ada kalanya terpaksa membelanjakan wang dari saku dirinya untuk menampung kos pengangkutan.

Sekiranya diberikan peruntukan kewangan yang lebih banyak, sememangnya Majlis Peguam amat berharap dapat membantu lebih ramai orang yang tidak berupaya untuk mendapatkan representasi guaman. Akan tetapi, usaha-usaha Majlis Peguam untuk mendapatkan tajaan kewangan daripada pihak kerajaan dan usaha-usaha lain seperti yuran pemfailan bagi kes-kes Pusat Bantuan Guaman dikecualikan masih belum mendapat apa-apa respon positif daripada pihak-pihak yang sepatutnya bertanggungjawab.

Ramai yang sering tertanya-tanya adakah bantuan guaman itu hanya satu isu amal/ kebajikan semata-mata atau ia adalah hak asasi manusia. Perkara 5 Perlembagaan Persekutuan menjamin hak seseorang itu untuk diberikan represenatasi guaman atas pilihan dirinya. Oleh itu, bantuan guaman kepada mereka yang tidak berupaya untuk melantik peguam sendiri adalah satu hak asasi manusia yang seharusnya menjadi tanggungjawab bersama pihak kerajaan dan bukan tanggungjawab Majlis Peguam semata-mata.

Apabila Majlis Peguam kekurangan peruntukan kewangan dan peguam sukarelawan, maka ia tidak dapat menampung bilangan kes-kes yang semakin meningkat kian hari dan terpaksa menolak permohonan mereka yang datang untuk mendapatkan bantuan ataupun gagal memperuntukkan peguam baginya meskipun kesnya telah lama didaftarkan. Seterusnya ahli masyarakat terutamanya mereka yang kurang berupaya dan/ atau mereka yang berpendapatan rendah masih menghadapi kesukaran untuk mendapatkan akses kepada keadilan meskipun terdapatnya Perkhidmatan Bantuan Guaman. Keadaan sebegini menjadikan bantuan guaman itu seolah-olah sekadar satu peragaan kosmetik yang tidak memanfaatkan golongan masyarakat yang kurang berupaya.

Apakah erti bantuan guaman dan di manakah bantuan guaman sekiranya badan yang memperuntukkan khidmat tersebut dengan sendirinya tidak mampu mengendalikan permintaan yang kian meningkat? Apakah ini semata-mata tanggungjawab sosial dan/ atau statutori Majlis Peguam sebagai satu badan statutori yang ditubuhkan di bawah Legal Profession Act? Sudah semestinya ia bukan hanya merupakan tanggungjawab Majlis Peguam semata-mata. Bantuan Guaman itu merupakan satu hak asasi manusia. Oleh itu, kerajaan negeri dan kerajaan pusat harus bersama-sama memikul tanggungjawab untuk memelihara hak asasi manusia terhadap representasi guaman yang dijamin oleh peruntukan Perlembagaan Persekutuan melalui penajaan kewangan untuk menyokong usaha Majlis Peguam dalam memastikan setiap orang diberi akses kepada keadilan terutamanya apabila Biro Bantuan Guaman yang dikendalikan oleh pihak kerajaan tidak memberikan bantuan guaman kepada mereka yang terlibat dalam kes jenayah. Kita harus sentiasa mengingati prinsip perundangan bahawa seseorang itu dianggap tidak bersalah sehingga dibuktikannya bersalah. Oleh itu, representasi guaman harus dijamin supaya tertuduh didakwa dalam satu prosiding yang adil dan sekiranya dia tidak mampu untuk melantik peguam, maka bantuan guaman mesti diberikan kepadanya supaya akses kepada keadilan terjamin.

Atas matlamat untuk memastikan setiap insan di Negara ini diberi akses kepada keadilan, maka Majlis Peguam menganjurkan Minggu Kesedaran Undang-Undang Kebangsaan ini yang diadakan secara serentak di setiap negeri di Semenanjung Malaysia bermula daripada 23hb Oktober 2009 sehingga 31hb Oktober 2009. Pelbagai aktiviti-aktiviti diadakan oleh Pusat-pusat Bantuan Guaman Majlis Peguam di negeri-negeri yang berlainan. Tujuan penganjuran Minggu Kesedaran ini adalah untuk membawa kesedaran kepada semua rakyat Malaysia akan erti, matlamat dan tujuan bantuan guaman. Majlis Peguam turut berharap bahawa dengan anjuran Minggu Kesedaran ini, ia dapat menghantar satu mesej kepada pihak kerajaan bahawa betapa pentingnya sokongan dan bantuan mereka dalam menyokong usaha Majlis Peguam memperlihara hak asasi manusia terhadap representasi guaman. Ia merupakan satu usaha yang masih berterusan sehingga hari ini supaya tajaan atau bantuan kewangan daripada pihak kerajaan dapat diperolehi supaya sistem bantuan guaman di Negara kita ini dapat diperbaiki. Semoga suara kita ini didengari oleh pihak-pihak yang berkenaan dan dibalas dengan rangkap yang menyenangkan.

Pusat Bantuan Guaman Majlis Peguam (Kuala Lumpur) akan melancarkan penggunaan premis Pusat yang baru di Tingkat 9 Wisma Kraftangan pada 27hb Oktober 2009, yang akan dirasmikan oleh Yang Amat Arif Hakim Besar Mahkamah Tinggi Malaya. Diharap kesudian Yang Amat Arif untuk menghadiri upacara ini merupakan satu tanda baik dan titik permulaan kerjasama di antara badan kehakiman dan Majlis Peguam dalam memperuntukkan satu sistem bantuan guaman yang lebih baik kepada ahli masyarakat di Negara ini. Pusat Bantuan Guaman Majlis Peguam (Kuala Lumpur) akan mengadakan satu fiesta kesedaran undang-undang di Pasar Budaya pada 31hb Oktober 2009 sebagai acara penutup tirai Minggu Kesedaran Undang-Undang Kebangsaan sambutan peringkat Wilayah Persekutuan. Warga-warga Pusat Bantuan Guaman Majlis Peguam (Kuala Lumpur) mengalu-alukan kedatangan orang ramai untuk mengikuti dan menyertai aktiviti-aktiviti yang dijadualkan pada hari tersebut dan bagi mereka yang mempunyai pertanyaan isu perundangan, Pusat Bantuan Guaman Majlis Peguam (Kuala Lumpur) turut menyediakan satu kaunter khidmat nasihat di fiesta tersebut.

Datanglah beramai-ramai bersama warga-warga Pusat Bantuan Guaman Majlis Peguam (Kuala Lumpur) untuk menjayakan fiesta ini dengan harapan satu mesej dapat dibawa kepada perhatian pihak kerajaan bahawa sudah tiba masanya untuk kerajaan menitikberatkan isu akses kepada keadilan dan peruntukan bantuan guaman. Bilangan membuktikan kekuatan. Bersama-sama kita berusaha untuk memelihara hak asasi manusia.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Dear All,

27th October will be the 22nd Anniversary of the infamous Operasi Lalang which was carried out on 27th October 1987. Around 106 individuals have been arrested under the draconian Act, ISA.

Due to that, Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA(GMI) together with SUARAM and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Youth Section is organizing Forum on 24th October 2009.

The details of the program as below:

"ISA: Why Review? Why Not Abolish"
Date: 24th October 2009
Time: 9am-4pm
Venue: Bar Council Auditorium, Leboh Pasar Besar, Kuala Lumpur

Speakers: Prof Dr. Abdul Aziz Bari, YB Saari Sungib, YB Dzulkefly Ahmad, Dato Siva Subramaniam, Lim Chee Wee, Syed Ibrahim, Edmund Bon, Father Sivin, Dr. Bala Tharmalingam, Puan Norlaila Othman, and ex detainee Sdr. Cikgu Zainon.

There will be a speacial performance by Composer and Musician Meor. So dont miss it!


"DiMana Sahaja kita pergi akan mempunyai sahabat sekiranya kita berada dalam perjuangan yang Agung ini"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Obama and the Nobel Peace Prize

I still couldn't wrap my mind around the hype on Obama, before and after he was elected as the US President. When he won, I told myself "let's see whether he is any different from the previous presidents". People say he is the first black president ever elected. If I were an American citizen, I would vote for a man of principle, regardless of his colour.

He won the Nobel Peace Prize recently. Peace. The word "peace" indeed brings very deep political connotations. It's not as simple as striking a peace sign pose every time the camera starts clicking. It's action.

And why am I not impressed at all? Look at American foreign policy on Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and the previous wars on Nicaragua, Vietnam, Haiti, Guatemala etc that broke out in the name of upholding democracy and championing human rights where in reality those wars were and are being waged for nothing but to their own survival as a corporation labbelled as the United States of America that feeds on innocent civilian dead bodies.

Why am i not impressed? Because the deadliest foreign policy continues to be reaffirmed rather than denounced.

Why am I not impressed? People say he brings hope. And my take on that is, hope is not just a mere saying, it's putting words into action.

You can tweet about hope and aspiration all you want, you can write hundreds and hundreds of pages of articles on your blog, you can show off to people about all the books you read, you can be crowned as the most prominent human rights lawyer or the greatest human being on planet earth and whatnot, but if your words are nothing but a lip service, it's just utterly worthless.

Well, I guess I'm just not easily impressed.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Tahun ni raya sangat berbeza sebab aku dgn 2 lagi kawan aku, Farhana dan Kak Irah tak beraya dengan keluarga masing-masing sebab kami semua beraya dengan kakak aku di Wolverhampton. Salah satu sebab aku sangat bersungguh nak beraya dengan kakak ialah nak jumpa anak sedara aku yang amatlah aku sayangi, Afwa Adeena Farha.

Masa dia dekat-dekat nak lahir aku sepatutnya ikut mak pegi rumah kakak and duduk sana 2 bulan. Bila saja aku resign dari firm lama and tengah termangu-mangu tak tau nak buat apa, dan hanya akan fikir pasal keja lepas 2 bulan duduk dengan kakak. Tapi tiba-tiba dapat offer keja baru, jadi mak kata kena bagi keutamaan pada keja, nak datang jumpa kakak bila-bila masa lapang pon boleh.

Anak sedara aku dah tujuh bulan masa kali pertama aku jumpa dia. Adeena ni seorang baby yang sgt serius. Masa baru sampai pukul 3 pagi dia terjaga. Aku terus dukung dia dan yang menariknya dia langsung tak menangis. Bila kawan-kawan aku berbut-rebut nak dukung dia pon dia tak nangis.

Cuma muka dia saja sangat serius. Dia akan tenung muka semua org lama2. Aku suka sbb Adeena ni " a people person". Kesimpulannya dia tak "sepah bulan". "Sepah bulan ni terma yang abang aku bagi merujuk kepada babies yang tak berapa "people person".

Sepah bulan ni juga dikenali sebagai ulat gonggok. Bila kita sentuh terus melingkar. Pandai la abang aku bagi terma ni, dia kecik2 raja segala sepah bulan sebab dalam kelas dia akan tutup muka dengan sepuluh jari dan tengok cikgu kat depan melalui celah-celah jari dia.Ironic!

Kami semua langsung tak mengalami jet lag, sebab kakak terus bwk kami bershopping di Wolverhampton. Abang Azlee suruh kakak bawak kami shopping ikut peringkat.Peringkat pertama kami dah jadi tak keruan, Primark mmg sangatlah murah!!

Sambil shopping kakak cakap "jangan abeskan duit semua kat sini, ada lagi tempat best kita nak pegi", dan pada masa yang sama kakak cakap "adik, ni cantik, masuk bakul, adik tu cantik masuk bakul".

Bila dah balik semua suka tgk barang yang dibeli. Cuba pakai satu persatu. Lepas tu kira duit yang tinggal sbb esoknya kami akan shopping lagi di Birmingham dan Cheshire Oak.

Aku terkejut bila tgk duit shopping aku tinggal 20 pound saja! Mulalah aku tanya mana peginya semua duit sambil gelak sbb tak dapat terima kenyataan. Kakak dengan baik hatinya telah memberikan sumbangan tambahan untuk membolehkan aku terus bershopping. Bak kata Abang Azlee pada kakak "bagilah sumbangan kat adik fadiah, I faham perasaan you bila tak dapat shopping". Aku suka la, sbb abang ipar aku sangat cool!

Kak Wanis, kawan Kak Irah yang juga merangkap kawan aku yang sedang buat PHD kat Aberdeen datang rumah kakak untuk join kami beraya, malam raya kami semua sibuk masak rendang dan ketupat. Pagi raya semua pakai baju raya dan bergambar kat taman.

Sangat gembira.Ramai jugak org tanya aku, mak abah tak kisah ka aku tak beraya kat kampung halaman. Mak abah aku mmg sangat cool sbb mereka tak pernah nak bantah keputusan aku. Apa aku nak buat semua pon boleh, kalau abah nak marah aku sbb apa-apa pon dia akan marah sorang-sorang belakang aku, bila depan2 dia terus panggil aku "sayang abah". Spoiled kah aku?

Lepas raya kami semua mulakan roadtrip ke Scotland. Kami bawak 2 kereta. Aku sudah pasti naik satu kereta dengan Adeena sbb aku nak cuddle dia and picit2 pipi dia.Kami tak lupa balik kampung kat Old Trafford, sing it! "Glory Glory Man Utd!!"

Scotland sangat cantik, orang2 dia sangat warm...Ingat lagi masa di Isle of Skye, lepas hantar kakak ke hotel, aku dgn kawan2 berangkat ke youth hostel atas bukit.
Nama pon budget travel, dok hostel la jimat belanja!

Kami lalu di lereng2 gunung, sangatlah gelap...Tetiba kak irah brake mengejut dan menjerit, kami terlanggar rusa yang sangat besar. Terlaggar pinggul dia dan dia terpelanting ke tepi jalan. Kami rasa sangat bersalah..Dia lintas dalam gelap mmg tak sempat brake. Nak berehenti gelap di kawasan gunung. Kami semua berdoa agar rusa tu tak mati. Esok kami nak berhenti di tempat kejadian, mana tau kalau dia mati atau tak, ada la closure.

Kami terus mencari youth hostel dalam jalan yang gelap. Tom tom yag macam GPS tu cakap "you have reached your destination, it's on your left". Kami pon berhenti dan tengok kiri, ada kubur. Semua dah takut, bila kami u turn baru nampak papan tanda youth hostel yang dicari.

Bila dah habes menjelajah Scotland, kami bali ke rumah Kak Wanis di Aberdeen. Kakak balik ke Wolverhampton dan aku dgn kawan2 terus ber backpack ke Paris. Kami tidur di Glasgow Airport, sambil menghafal beberapa patah perkataan dalam french.

Sampai saja di Paris, kami terus naik Metro untuk ke youth hostel di Rue Louius Lumiere. Aku ingat nama jalan ni sbb kami sesat 2 jam nak cari hostel ni. Tanya org tempatan pon diorang tak tau jalan ni kat mana. Tanya org hostel pon dia tak berapa reti nak bg direction, mungkin sbb mereka kurang fasih cakap english.

Cari punya cari, tak jumpa jugak. Tapi disepanjang pencarian tu nampak byk restoran halal dan yang paling best ayam golek. Aku bila nampak ayam akan hilang semua resah di hati.

Lepas 2 jam berjalan baru jumpa hostel kami. Kami tido sbb keletihan, bila bangun terus pegi cari ayam sbb selagi tak beli ayam tu aku tak akan berhenti bercakap tentang ayam. Hostel kami sangat strategic sbb tengok saja melalui tingkap, ada org tengah main volleyball dan bola sepak.Kami pon jadi penonton.

Esoknya kami menjelajah Paris. Bagi aku Paris ni quite overrated lah. Yang best pon Eiffel Tower, teruja sekejap bila tgk. Tapi pengalaman tetap best sbb kawan2 aku semua sangat cool dan suka ambil gambar. Aku pon suka ambil gambar. Diorang cakap aku cam addict, and not to forget, a chicken lover!

Lepas Paris kami semua bertolak ke London sebelum balik Malaysia. Kami balik dengan coach. Setibanya di London, berlaku satu kejadian yang buat aku terdiam beberapa jam. Bag aku yang ada passport, handphone dan dompet kena curi. Ada sorang lelaki pakai baju hitam ni datang dok sebelah aku dan secara pantas ambil beg aku.

Masa tu pukul 5 pagi, semua org sebelah menyebelah tengah tido. Aku dgn Farhana tgh bersembang. Bila dah sedar bag hilang aku terus terdiam. Aku cuba untuk tak panic, dan menyalahkan sesiapa. Aku cuba sedaya upaya mengatakan pada diri aku semua ni dah ditakdirkan. Aku kena sabar. Tapi aku kecewa sebab dompet tu kakak aku bagi hadiah masa harijadi ke 25 aku. Handphone tu pulak aku baru saja beli 5 bulan lepas. Dan aku kecewa sebab duit aku 100 pound untuk belanja di London pon hilang. Penat tau nak save up!

Tapi dalam hati aku sedikit lega sbb aku dah shopping puas2 masa awal2 percutian ni. Mood aku nak jalan2 kat london dah hilang. Lepas buat emergency passport, kami semua ke hostel Aunty Jennifer di Pocock Street. Aunty Jennifer ni mak sedara Abang Azlee, dia Fransiscan nun. Dia tinggal di hostel dgn 2 org kawan dia, Gina and Regina.

Bila jumpa Aunty Jennifer aku dah ok sikit. Aunty Jennifer sangat peramah. Kami bersembang setiap hari sampai lewat malam.Kawan-kawan aunty pon sangat warm. Bila aku cakap kat kawan2 aku yang aku nak tinggal kat hostel and tak nak ikut diorang jalan2 diorang semua protest, diorang pon akan stay dekat hostel kalau aku tak ikut.

Kesimpulannya diorang pon jadi bank bergerak aku. Barulah aku faham apa maksud sehelai sepinggang. ya lah, kad kredit aku pon semua kena curi.

Dua minggu lebih jugak percutian aku kali ni...Secara keseluruhannya memang sangat menarik walaupon ada kejadian2 yang kurang baik berlaku. Pengalaman.

Bila sampai Malaysia aku telefon mak. Mak risau kat aku, aku kata aku ok saja sbb aku ada kakak dan kawan-kawan dengan aku. Mak kata, "sudah-sudah la berjalan, dok diam2 kat rumah". Selalunya aku akan protest tapi kali ni aku kata "ya mak" (dalam hati aku ("kena start simpan duit sbb bulan 3 nak pegi Jepun").

Aku memang suka berjalan2 tengok negara orang, tapi satu benda yang aku sedar masa dalam tengah bergembira berjalan2 adalah aku tetap rindukan hidup aku kat Malaysia.kenapa?nanti aku tulis kenapa.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Of two new students.

There are two new students who just joined the firm, one is doing her pupillage and the other one is doing her attachment program.

While I was on google chat with Mr Boss on the case update:-

MB : by the way we've got two new students under your wings.
Me: ok, I'll try my best to guide them.
MB: please make sure they don't become too militant.
ME: hahaha
MB: I can only cope with one fadiah!!!!

(sambung gelak dalam hati :P)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Indeed it's a blessed Ramadhan.

Ramadhan never fails to make me feel at peace, and Ramadhan this time gives me lotsa reasons to be happy about.

1) The release of 5 ISA detainees.

I managed to talk to Kak Laila just now, and the first thing she said to me "Fadiah, akak kat sabah ni, mahal kena charge bill fadiah nanti, baca blog akak, akak teringat kat korang semua!"...she sounded extremely happy. She told me she has been getting calls and smses from all over the world since yesterday.

Alhamdulillah. I couldn't be happier for her. I guess this is the biggest gift God has ever sent to me in this month of Ramadhan, the indescribable good feeling. The first thing that popped up in my head the moment I heard about the release was "Suhaib must be so happy, he will spend his raya with his dad!".

I still remember crying over one blog post by Kak Laila about one year ago, it was about a letter sent by the husband, Mat Sah to their son, Suhaib, apologizing to Suhaib for not being able to be there for him.

Thank you God.

2) SUHAKAM public inquiry

Commenting on the decision handed down by the Commissioners on the SUHAKAM public inquiry into the arrest and detention of 5 legal aid lawyers on the issue whether SUHAKAM has the power to compel the police to record their statements, our counsel Mr Puravalen said to us "see, all of you have contributed to the development of jurisprudence in this country, and this happens in the month of Ramadhan".

Syuhaini and I just looked at him and the same thing crossed our minds ("kami budak baru belajar, banyak lagi kena belajar, dan sangat gembira diberi peluang untuk terus belajar!")

And my favorite quote of the day was "the issue of procedure has turned into substantive right"- Mr Puravalen.

3) My darling angels-Afwa Adeena Farha and kakak.

I will be celebrating my raya with kakak, abang azlee and my darling niece in Wolverhampton, together with a bunch of good friends of mine.

Selamat hari raya aidil fitri to every one. Maaf segala salah dan silap.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The rape of young Penan girls and women in Sarawak.

I saw today's The Star newspaper report on the rape of the young Penan girls and women and I realized that one year ago, Stef actually asked me whether I would want to join the task force, go to Sarawak and conduct the fact finding mission on this issue.

due to some work commitment I didn't join the task force.

Today, when I saw the front page report, Stef pointed out one vital point. "The report does not come out just like that, people pushed really hard for it, people can make change happen". I couldn't agree more with it.Yes, it didn't happen overnight.

The change that the report would bring about equals to saving the lives and dignity of the Penan girls and women. What actually happened can no longer be swept under the carpet. It has been ages that the Penans had to live in fear. Countless efforts had been taken to get help even though most of the times they fell on deaf ears. God willing, their efforts to get their voices heard reached the ears of some concerned citizens.

I asked Stef what actually happened in the beginning.

Some NGO people from Sarawak came to Kuala Lumpur with three Penan women to meet with some NGOs and the Legal Aid Centre. They then went to Bukit Aman Police Station to lodge the police report. A press conference was held to let every one know how serious the situation was. Relentless demands were made for the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry to take action on this particular matter since the Police simply dismiss this issue as mere allegations.

No one gave up and they kept on pushing for this issue to be acted on. No one gave up even though similar efforts that were done before fell on deaf ears.

They kept on lobbying the relevant authorities to take actions and do something to stop the ruthless barbaric act committed on the Penans. When the tension was rising, still, no one was giving up.

The Ministry finally agreed to set up the task force to conduct a fact finding mission on this issue.

After a long wait, the report came out today. Their voices are finally heard.

Change. it's a big word.

At the end of the day, change is evidently possible. All that it takes is a little reflection on the philosophy of life. Do we live our life thinking about nothing but ourselves, or we try to do even a littlest thing for others for the sake of saving and defending human civilization.

The choice is always ours.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The French Revolution and Takeshi Kaneshiro.

I had a chat with Stef as I dropped by LAC after court to sign some letters. I always love to talk to her as she would tell me stories, lots of them, from the newly formed government in Nicaragua, the first book she read, it was about Steve Biko, an anti-apartheid activist who was killed in police custody, the history of Malayisa, South Africa, India,China, to the French Revolution. It’s good to listen to all these stories and relate them to our current situation.

some people might say "why so serious?" lah, as at the end of our conversation, I actually asked Stef to google Takeshi Kaneshiro and Louis Khoo. Why? I guess it all started with this statement “ I think you are lucky to have found someone who actually shares the same passion as yours”. Someone who believes in the cause. Someone who has a dream, a dream for others.

The conversation went on to an interesting point, or rather an interesting exercise : listing out the names that would fit the description. The conclusion : those names belong to people who were born in 1940s or even way earlier than that or people who have passed away.

see, the range of things we talk's fun actually:P

So what do Takeshi Kaneshiro and Louis Khoo have to do with all this?

ahh before I forget, there's a rumour flying around saying that I'm leaving the place where I am now. No, I'm not going anywhere for the time being, I'm still here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Legal Aid and Assistance to those Arrested in the Anti-ISA Protest on 1 August 2009

Thursday, 20 August 2009 05:19pm (
Contributed by Ravinder Singh Dhaliwal, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri and Stephanie Bastian

Legal Aid and Assistance to those Arrested in the Anti-ISA Protest on 1 August 2009
589 people including 44 juveniles were arrested on Saturday 1 August 2009 in connection with the anti ISA protests in the centre of Kuala Lumpur.

Two teams of lawyers from the Bar Council mobilised themselves to respond. The Human Rights Committee took charge of monitoring while the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre (Kuala Lumpur) formed an Urgent Arrest Team to provide legal aid and assistance to those who might get arrested.

News about the Arrests

As early as 6.30 am on that Saturday morning, volunteer lawyers of the Legal Aid Centre (LAC) had already gathered at the LAC office in Wisma Kraftangan. There were lawyers manning the Centre while others went on the ground along Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Sogo areas and Masjid Jamek to monitor the situation.
The Centre received the first report of arrests at about 9.00 am. We also received reports that people were beaten up by the police and excessive force was used in the course of arrests even though those taking part in the assembly were not violent. In one incident, when one of the lawyers called on the police not to use excessive force the police shouted back, “if you want to talk about rights, you go to court, you lawyers all you know is rights, rights, rights!”

As the day progressed, more and more calls were coming in informing the lawyers about arrests taking place at the different hot spots. Some arrests even took place outside Wisma Kraftangan itself! A few of the volunteer lawyers were also tear-gassed and harassed by the police.

Sieving through the Information

The lawyers at the Centre began sieving through the information while trying to figure out the actual situation, especially where the detainees were being held. Where it was possible, lawyers asked the persons detained to confirm their whereabouts and advised them about their rights through the calls. They were also counseled to voice their requests to meet the lawyers and not to sign any statements without the presence of lawyers.

The information suggested that those detained were taken to a number of police stations including those on Jalan Campbell and Jalan Tun H S Lee, but it also seemed to suggest that everyone was being moved to the FRU PGA Complex in Cheras.

To clarify the situation, the lawyers attempted to contact various police stations including Bukit Aman and Cheras to confirm the arrests, determine the location of the detainees and notify the authorities that they would be acting for the detainess – without much success. Most police stations denied holding any detainees and the FRU PGA Complex could not be contacted.

In the end, it was decided that one of the lawyers would take a trip to the FRU PGA Complex, Cheras and to report back to the rest. He arrived at about 3.00 pm and was probably one of the first lawyers to arrive on the scene.

FRU PGA Complex – Extremely Uncooperative and Inaccessible

At the Cheras FRU PGA complex it was clear that hundreds of people were in police custody. This was evident from the truckloads of detainees being driven in. At this point, more lawyers had arrived but their efforts at gaining access to their clients proved difficult, as the police and the FRU Officers were extremely uncooperative. Lawyers were made to stand and wait outside the huge Complex and repeated requests to talk to an officer or person in charge to find out what was happening was a futile effort. There was an absolute lack of response from the officers manning the gate.

To make the problem worse, it was not clear if the Complex could be used as a detention centre. There appeared to be no police officer in charge, investigation officer or OCPD and the Complex became one huge inaccessible fortress.

Those police officers that we had to interact with just said ‘NO’ to every request or query. They did not even bother to invoke Section 28A (8) of the CPC as they normally do. A senior Officer told one of the lawyers “Don’t talk to me about the law, you lawyers know the law and all I know is this is a ‘kawasan larangan’ so you cannot go in”. They were uninterested in the law. It was just a case of “no” and “you can do what you want.”

Despite being at the Cheras FRU PGA Complex for close to 5 hours, and despite numerous attempts on our part we never managed to gain access to any of the persons being held here. It was clear that the police have scant regard for Article 5 of the Federal Constitution. In situation after situation they deny lawyers the right of access and continue to make a mockery of Section 28A (2) to (7) of the Criminal Procedure Code which specifically allows for such access.

At some point, buses began to leave the complex. It was not clear at this stage what was going on. Were detainees being released or merely being moved to different police stations? As has become standard police operating procedure in this country, the police never provide any information about what is going on! We asked but as usual we were met with a wall of silence.

Lawyers thus had no choice but to resort to chasing police buses on motorbikes to try and figure out what was going on. After several attempts, one of the lawyers finally caught up to one of the buses at the train station in Cheras. Detainees were being let off the bus here and the lawyer managed to speak to them. This was the first time that we were able to confirm that releases were taking place.

It baffles the mind as to why the police had to resort to such secrecy pertaining to their actions. If you are going to release someone – why not just say so. If you are going to remand someone – is it so difficult to inform the family and friends that a remand order is being sought and let them know where and when the remand hearing will take place?

There are a lot that needs to be done to reform the police force, but one immediate step that they could easily take (if they wanted to) would be to be more transparent. But old habits die hard and the lack of transparency and secrecy appear to have become part of Polis Di Raja Malaysia’s organisational culture.

Bukit Jalil Police Station – Interviewing Clients and Remand Hearing

While the lawyers were still at the Cheras FRU Complex, they began to receive reports that some of the persons detained were being held at the Bukit Jalil police station. Some lawyers remained at the Complex to monitor the situation while others began traveling to Bukit Jalil.

Another group of lawyers headed to Petaling police station upon hearing of the detention of three juveniles there. When they arrived at the Petaling station, they discovered that one of the three juveniles had already been remanded for four days.

The first volunteer lawyers arrived at Bukit Jalil at around 9.00 pm. They spoke to the OCPD and asked to see their clients. After waiting for almost 2 hours, they finally managed to see the IO, Inspector Buruwin. They repeatedly insisted on access and finally at about 11.00 pm the team began to interview about 40 persons who were being detained in Bukit Jalil police station. It was not certain if the remand would take place immediately and so the lawyers waited outside the police station till 2.00 am when they were informed that the remand hearing would only take place at 11am on Sunday (2 August).

The volunteer lawyers regrouped at the Bukit Jalil police station at 9.00 am on Sunday. Despite being told that the remand proceedings would take place at 11.00 am, the team wanted to turn up early since some of those detained on Saturday had been detained as early as 9.00 am on Saturday morning and there were concerns that the remand hearing might take place before the 24-hour deadline.

(Lawyers outside Bukit Jalil police station after remand hearings)

The remand hearing at Bukit Jalil began at around 12.00 noon on Sunday. The two juveniles who had been detained at Petaling police station were brought to Bukit Jalil in a van. Puan Naziah was the presiding magistrate and she began by hearing the remand applications in respect of the two juveniles. She ordered them both released.

She then proceeded to hear applications for remand in batches. She began with batches of three but towards the evening the batches got bigger with the last ones numbering 17 and 21. It was only during these proceedings that we learned that about 13 persons arrested early on Saturday morning had already been given remand orders. This remand hearing had apparently taken place at about 2.00 pm on Saturday afternoon when we were still at Wisma Kraftangan and the anti-ISA gathering was in full swing!

The 13 had apparently been arrested at about 3.30 am on Saturday morning. No lawyer was present at the proceeding and the majority of the 13 were remanded for four days. While the remand hearings were going on, 21 more persons who had been held overnight in the Brickfields police station arrived.

The remand hearing was a long drawn out process. By about 4.00 pm some of the volunteer lawyers were exhausted. Many of them had been at the Bukit Jalil police station until 3.00 am on Saturday night and then returned to Bukit Jalil at 9.00 am on Sunday morning. It had by now became clear that the remand hearings would run into the night. Following that, an SOS was sent out for reinforcements. By 6.00 pm more lawyers began arriving at the Bukit Jalil police station to assist.

The remand hearing finally came to an end at 9.15 pm – after almost 10 hours! The total number of persons whom the police sought to remand was 77. The police failed to get remand orders against 59 persons and over the course of 10 hours, 3 juveniles, 11 women and 45 men were released. There were cheers of joy and jubilation as those released met their friends and family outside the police gate. Over the course of the day, a total of 18 persons were remanded - 1 juvenile, 5 women and 12 men.

The final batch of lawyers came out of the police station at 9.30 pm to applause and shouts of “hidup peguam” from the crowd of family members and friends of the detainees.

Bail Application – Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court

On 3 August 2009 (Monday), 29 persons were brought to the Sessions Court and charged; 16 for being part of an illegal assembly and 13 others under the Societies Act for distributing T-shirts for an unregistered society (Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA or GMI).

The volunteer lawyers did the bail applications. The prosecution asked the Court to impose a bail of RM6,000 and a RM5,000 bond on the juvenile. The Court, however, after hearing arguments from the lawyers, fixed bail for each of the 28 at RM500 and allowed the juveniles to be released on a RM 300 bond.

The police then whisked off four of the women who had been offered bail in the Sessions Court to the Magistrates Court where they were charged for apparently not producing their ICs when arrested. Once again the lawyers conducted the bail application and bail was set at RM200 each.

(Detainees released on bail)

Making a difference

The presence of lawyers at Bukit Jalil police station and the Court made a difference. At the remand hearings on Sunday in the Bukit Jalil police station, the police failed in three out of four cases to get a remand order. This failure rate is unprecedented. We remember all too well, previous situations of mass arrests – when almost everyone would get remanded. The maximum remand against the 18 was only two days - which meant that they had to either be charged on Monday or released.

The number of persons who were released at the remand hearings on Sunday stood in sharp contrast to the situation on Saturday afternoon when 13 unrepresented persons were remanded, the majority of them for the maximum of four days.

The lawyers who handled the bail application also did a good job by getting a bail as low as RM500. In previous situations of mass arrest, bail had sometimes been as high as RM2,000.

Thank you

The Bar Council Legal Aid Centre (Kuala Lumpur) would like to thank all those who were part of the Urgent Arrest Team over the weekend and all those who responded to the SOS for more volunteer lawyers, chambering pupils, and staff of the Centre. Everyone played their part. Truly it was a wonderful team effort involving many people – some of whom gave their time and effort on short notice.

We laud them for sacrificing their time and energy over the arduous three days. From being with us at our Centre to monitor the arrests, to traveling to different police stations on Saturday to try and locate those detained, for going to Bukit Jalil police station to assist in the remand hearing and for turning up at the Court on Monday to help in the bail application.

Their combined efforts and commitments to the fundamental tenet that every one has the right to legal counsel made a real difference to the length of time that the detainees had to suffer in police custody.

We thank the following persons for assisting in one way or another. Their presence made a real difference to the lives of all those detained:

Ravi Nekoo, Ravinder Singh, Fadiah Nadwa, Saha Deva, Stephanie Bastian, Valen Khor, Harleen Kaur, Rajen Devaraj, Puspawati Rosman, Harvindar Singh, Rajesweri Paramesevam, Mohd Radzlan Jalaludin, Nik Waheeda, Farida Mohamad, Sasha Lyna, Murnie Hidayah, Farhana Abdul Halim, Syuhaini Safwan, N. Surendran, Latheefa Koya, Honey Tan, Pushpa Ratnam, Lim Chee Wee, Ragunath Kesavan, Ambiga Sreenevasan, Edmund Bon Tai Soon, Daniel Joseph Albert, Syahredzan B Johan, Jonson Chong, Patrick Dass, Lee Choi Wan, Chow Siew Lin, Steven Thiruneelakandan, Brian Jit Singh, Verghese Aaron Mathews, David Dinesh Mathew, Khaizan Sharizad (Sherrie), Rachel Vanuja Suppiah, Seira Sacha, Adiba Shareen, Soo Siew Mei, Lim Kar Mern, Joanna Loy, Ahmad Zamri B Asa’ad Khuzaimi, Zulqarnain B. Lukman, Azizzul Shariman B Mat Yusoff, Ariff Azami B Hussein, Zulhazmi B. Shariff, George Varughese, M Puravalen, Richard Wee, Chin Hsu Lin, Chin Oy Sim, Andrew Khoo, Bavanee Subramaniam, Sivamalar Genapathy, Elizabeth Anne, Jeevanathan Angappan, Sheena Manicam and Nalina Grace Nair.

[Ravinder Singh Dhaliwal is the Chairperson of the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre (KL), Fadiah Nadwa Fikri is the Secretary and Stephanie Bastian is the Executive Director]

Friday, August 07, 2009


On Thursday evening, there was a briefing held for volunteer lawyers sitting on the Kuala Lumpur Legal Aid Centre Urgent Arrest Team to provide legal assistance in case of arrests which would result from the anti-ISA peaceful assembly which was scheduled to be held on 1 August 2009 at 2.00pm. Every one had a feeling there were going to be massive arrests on August 1. We decided to document details of the arrests and only after the event ended we would be at the respective police stations to render legal assistance. Every one was all prepared, the list of lawyers’ contact numbers and case laws to be used for purposes of remand hearing.

As early as 9 am in the morning I had been receiving messages after messages confirming arrests. I just couldn’t help waiting no more that I decided to go to the Legal Aid Centre at Masjid Jame’ to join my fellow comrades who were already there. We prepared a long list of names and details of those who got arrested. A few of my comrades and I took turn to go to the ground to monitor the situation.

The crowd was not provocative, unarmed and all that they did was stand in one corner. All that they had with them was a conviction that ISA must be abolished as it violates human rights principle. At this moment, I will not delve into the issue of the right to peaceful assembly as provided for under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution, explained in length by SUHAKAM in its recommendation to the Government following the Kesas Highway and KLCC Bloody Sunday Public Inquiries and the practice of other countries such as the United States, Canada, Italy, etc which suggest one common point: the Police should facilitate the participants of a peaceful assembly, not to impede them.

Before I write more on my personal accounts as to how the whole event unfolded, let me quote some typical statements made by some sectors of the society.

Statement No. 1 – You lawyers all you know is right, right, right!
Statement No. 2- Not all police are bad okay!
Statement No. 3- You lawyers, all you know is to bash “us”, you think all lawyers are good?-since lawyers are always accused of being in the opposition, I figure you know what “us” means.
Statement No. 3- I’m so worried, you are being used by some people.
Statement No. 4- Law is a matter of interpretation. Period!

Fact No 1

Nowhere in the world there is a rule that says Police can beat you up whilst discharging their statutory duties. Police brutality is a crime.

Refer : United Nation Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

I witnessed before my own eyes, 2 participants were stomped by 4 to 5 police men. The man was lying helplessly on the ground with his hands up trying to protect his body and his face. I ran towards the man and demanded the police to stop using force as the first man was not violent and he was in no way resisting the arrest. He was lucky that they actually let him stand up and walk towards the police truck.

The second man was unfortunate that the moment I got there, he was already black and blue, beaten up by the police. I again demanded them to stop, some of them left the man and came towards me and started shouting. I told them no one has the right to act like barbarians and beat people up like nobody’s business, these people are human beings. They are unarmed and helpless. The police shouted “You lawyers all you know is right, right, right, go to court to fight for those rights!”.

Conclusion : you can murder just anybody, you can inflict harm on just anybody, let the person die first and later ask the family and the lawyer to go to the court to seek justice. This standard practice can only be traced back to Nazi time.

Fact No. 2

Right to Legal Representation

Refer : Article 5(3) of the Federal Constitution and Section 28A(2) to (7) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

When all the urgent arrest lawyers were still at the centre collecting all details of arrests, we managed to talk to the arrested persons on the phone. We advised them that they had to inform the Police that they needed to see their lawyers. We also advised them not to sign any statements until they see their lawyers. One man was on the phone with me. He told me that all of them were forced to give statements even though they have informed that they needed to see the lawyers first.

While he was still on the phone, I demanded to talk to the I.O, he passed the phone to one police officer, his name was Roslan. I told him, I need to see my client and he has the right to see me before doing anything. He stopped talking to me but I can still hear on the phone he said to my client “why are you calling your lawyer?? I trust you and now you go tell your lawyer??”. This is nothing but a deliberate act of intimidation aiming at preventing them from seeing their lawyers.

Forced to give statement? Section 112 of the CPC gives the right to silence. Any suspected persons have the right not to say a word to the Police. Which part of the section needs interpretation?

Fact No. 3

Nowhere in the world there is a rule that says the Police can lie as much as they want.

Refer : Your conscience, religious teachings.

It’s common to hear people say “Lawyers are liars”. Those who classify themselves as “us” would go further quoting "the first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." This phrase is from Shakespeare's Henry VI and the best part is, they forget to mention that this phrase was uttered by the villain. If you ask me what is my take on people who lie, I would say any single human being is capable of lying. The difference between a 7 year old kid who lies about his examination result and someone who is entrusted to carry out public duty is strikingly obvious. In Islam, people who lie are known as “munafiq” based on this particular tradition of the Prophet : "The signs of the hypocrite are three: when he speaks he lies, when he promises he breaks his promise and when he is entrusted he betrays the trust." (Bukhari and Muslim)

Umar mentioned the hadith of the Prophet : "The thing from which I fear for you the most is the knowledgeable hypocrite." Umar was then asked: "How can a hypocrite be knowledgeable?" To which Umar answered: "He speaks with wisdom but acts with injustice."

On that day, the Police keep uttering this statement God knows how many times “you are Malay, help other Malays la, why are doing all these things” -this is what we call “the Melayu thing”, which until now I cant figure out what does it have to do with the violations they committed. The reason why I quote the Prophet’s traditions as stated above is because I believe they are well aware of who the Prophet was and I think it’s not too much for me to assume that they should be familiar with this basic simple rule on lying. Again, why do I quote the Prophet’s traditions on munafiq? The reason is I couldn’t find anything on this (lying) from the so called “Melayu thing”, even if I crack my head open I could never recall whether I was ever taught in my religious school back then when I was in standard 3 that “Melayu thing” prevails over the teaching of the religion.

And why lying is a grave sin? Because people who lie can never do justice, particularly when those people are entrusted to carry out their duties with integrity and trust. The above mentioned tradition of the Prophet describes what “knowledgeable hypocrite” is. The words the Prophet used to describe this kind of people are “the thing which I fear for you the most…) show very clearly the severity of the act of hypocrisy by people who are entrusted to act justly.

Lies,lies and lies

Lie No. 1- When all the lawyers were trying to get access to see the clients outside the FRU Complex in Cheras, we were told that the detainees were about to be brought to Dang Wangi Police Station. We straight away made our way to Dang Wangi Police Station the moment we saw two trucks came out of the complex. Suddenly we got a call form our client saying that the Police actually took them to Bukit Jalil Police Station.

Lie No. 2- the woman detainees requested the Police to bring them to a place where they can perform their prayers after the arrests, the police officer said yes, and the next thing they knew was they were all put in the lock up.

Lie No. 3- 3 juveniles who were separated from the parents went missing in Police custody. While the father of one child was frantically looking for his son, the Police said “I don’t know, we don’t know where he is”. When the father came to see us in Bukit Jalil Police Station, we told the police that we wanted to lodge a police report on a missing person, and the interesting part is, this person went missing in police custody!. They panicked and suddenly they said “ya, the child is in Petaling police station”.

Lie No. 4- some of our clients were elderly and seriously ill. We managed to get someone to get the medicines for them. We gave the medicines to the Police and asked the police to pass them to our clients. They said they would do that. The next morning, when we went to the police station for remand hearing, we were informed by our clients that the Police never gave the medicines to them.

Lie No. 5- the woman detainees demanded to see their lawyers as they were in contact with us the moment the got arrested and they were fully aware of the fact that the lawyers were outside trying to get access to see them. One lady officer told them “why do you want to see your lawyers, they are not here”.

Lie No. 6- one man who was just released wanted to lodge a police report as he just lost his IC which was taken and kept by the police upon his arrest. He was prevented to lodge a report saying that the police were the ones responsible for his lost IC. The family members came to see me and asked me to help him out on this. I went in, I asked the police what was the problem. They finally had to allow him to report on what actually happened.

As I walked out of the police station, a friend said to me : “imagine, what would happen to people who don’t have lawyers to be with them, imagine the things the police are capable of doing”.

Fact No 5

“to take statement from the suspect and to obtain further information are not valid grounds to justify remand order” . These two grounds are clearly enunciated in the case of :





To explain the above law on remand in a simpler term, when someone is arrested, the police may only detain that person up to 24 hours for investigation. The duty of the police is to complete investigation within 24 hours and to release the person as soon as possible. If the police cannot complete investigation within 24 hours, the police must bring the person before a magistrate for a remand order to extend his detention beyond 24 hours.

For the police to ask for remand order, they have to specify the grounds of the application, not the purpose of the application (as decided in the case of Saul Hamid). The onus is upon the applicant (the police) for an order for remand to satisfy the magistrate that an order to remand the suspect is necessary (as decided in the case of In Re Syed Mohammad Syed Isa & Ors).

Finally I figured out why on earth the police despise the word “right” so much. During the remand hearing, the police did not even bring one single case law to substantiate their application for remand. If only they read the cases I just cited above, they might suffocate and fall to the ground having to swallow repeated mention of the word “right” and “liberty” by the Court which form the very foundation of a just criminal justice system,. Mind you that the police are the ones who have to prove the ground to justify their application for remand and they couldn’t even be bothered to do research and bring a case law to the Court.

Which part of the principles enunciated in the cases above needs interpretation?

The “so called ground” given by the police on the remand day:

1) to obtain further information
2) to take further statement from the suspect

Some detainees were released and some were remanded. I find this part rather puzzling. The police repeated the same grounds which run contrary to the case laws cited above, and yet the magistrate could grant different orders. Strange? No it’s not. Apparently it has been the standard practice as far as I could recall.

Fact No. 6

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of your nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion etc. The fact that you are a human being gives you these inherent rights, regardless who you are, whether you are a prisoner, a student, a child, a refugee, a migrant, a detained person etc.

Refer : Declaration of the Rights of Man, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Child Act 2001, Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which has been ratified by Malaysia.

Violations committed on the detained persons on that day:-

1- The juveniles were denied food and drinks for almost 8 hours.
2- The male detainees were asked to drink from the toilet pipe even though there were proper food and drinks provided for people in detention.
3- The detainees were denied the right to practice their religious obligation (prayers).
4- The detainees were forced and intimidated to give statement without the presence of lawyers. Mind you that the law gives the right to refuse giving statement (the right to silence)
5- The police seized the IC, handphones and other belongings of the detainees upon their arrests without filling up the list. They deliberately refused to return all the belongings upon their release.
6- The Juveniles were held in the lock up together with adults. This is in contravention with the provisions of the Child Act 2001 and the CRC.
7- One juvenile had a fever when he was detained and no medical assistance was given to him. This is in contravention with the Child Act 2001 and CRC.

Coming back to the typical statements I stated above. Some might say, what is the relevance? That’s the whole point I’m trying to make. People deliberately close their eyes to these atrocities and they resort to saying all those typical statements to justify their inaction, ignorance and refusal to admit to the truth. We don’t need to respond to those typical statements as the time used to respond to those statements would be much better used to help those who are oppressed and violated.

If you fail to see your own reflection in the human being standing in front of you, …please tell me what I should refer you as.

“Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher, For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself.”Justice Louis D. Brandeis – 1920

Friday, July 31, 2009

Anak Seorang Tahanan ISA

Suhaib Mat Sah | Jul 29, 2009 09:41:07 am

Nama saya Suhaib. Saya berusia 16 tahun. Ketika bapa saya, Mat Sah Satray ditahan di bawah ISA pada 18 April tahun 2002, saya berusia 8 tahun 5 bulan. Saya masih terlalu kecil dan tidak dapat mengingati semua peristiwa. Ketika itu saya sedang tidur, tetapi terjaga apabila beberapa orang polis masuk ke bilik tidur saya dan dengan kasar menyelak cadar, mengangkat hujung tilam, menarik rak baju, membuka serta menutup almari pakaian hingga mengeluarkan bunyi kuat yang membuatkan saya terjaga. Umi, panggilan saya pada emak, mendukung saya dan diletakkan di sebelah abah yang ketika itu duduk di sofa di ruang tamu. Aku menoleh ke arah Abah dan nampak kedua-dua tangannya bergari. Aku menangis kerana terlalu takut melihat gari itu. Gambaran gari yang melengkar di kedua-dua belah tangan Abah amat sukar untuk hilang dari minda saya......

Agak lama juga polis menggeledah rumah kami. Seorang wanita sibuk menyoal Abah dan Umi bergilir-gilir dan kemudian menulis sesuatu di atas kertas. Manakala lima orang lelaki yang lain, sibuk membuka rak buku Abah, mengeluarkan Quran dan buku-buku agama serta menyelak-nyelak setiap muka surat dengan pantas. Saya tidak tahu, apa yang mereka cari. Tidak lama selepas itu, mereka membawa Abah masuk ke dalam van putih. Umi dukung saya dan kami berdua sempat melambai tangan kepada Abah. Sebaik sahaja van putih hilang dari pandangan, aku menangis lagi sambil memanggil-manggil Abah. Saya baring di riba Umi hingga tertidur...

Saya bagaikan melalui satu mimpi buruk di mana Abah dilarikan dari rumah oleh sekumpulan lelaki. Bila terjaga dari tidur, saya mencari Abah di semua bilik termasuk bilik air tetapi tidak ditemui. Saya mendapatkan Umi yang sedang membancuh minuman untuk bertanya tentang Abah, tetapi saya nampak Umi juga sedang menangis....

Saya asyik teringatkan Abah. Dari pagi saya tunggu Abah, tengah hari, hinggalah cuaca gelap dan masuk waktu maghrib, Abah masih juga belum pulang. Saya mula menangis kerana rindukan Abah... Ketika itu telefon rumah berdering, saya dan Umi berlari ke arah telefon tetapi apabila gagang diangkat, tiada siapa yang bercakap di hujung talian....

7 tahun telah berlalu
Peristiwa buruk itu telah berlalu tujuh tahun yang lalu, namun ianya sukar untuk hilang semuanya dari fikiran saya. Tujuh tahun lalu Abah saya dibawa pergi, hingga kini beliau tidak pernah balik ke rumah kami.

Pada tahun 2009 ini, maknanya hampir separuh usia saya membesar tanpa belaian kasih sayang, bimbingan dan sentuhan Abah walaupun beliau masih hidup. Saya membesar bertemankan barang-barang peribadinya seperti jam tangan, dompet, baju, seluar, kain pelikat dan buku-buku beliau. Saya sekadar mengikuti nasihat dan kata-kata beliau melalui surat-surat kirimannya. Jika rasa terlalu rindu padanya, saya akan pakai baju, seluar dan kain pelikat beliau. Saya letak gambar Abah di dompet duit bersebelahan dengan gambar saya.

Umi akan memastikan kami melawat Abah sekurang-kurangnya dua kali sebulan. Namun waktu lawatan selama 45 minit itu jauh dari mencukupi untuk Abah menghilangkan rindu, memberikan bimbingan, tunjuk ajar serta melepaskan kasih sayangnya kepada saya.
Satu peristiwa yang tidak dapat dilupakan ialah ketika lawatan pertama ke Kem pada 24 Jun 2002. Setelah hampir tiga minggu tidak melihat Abah sejak pertemuan terakhir di Bukit Aman, saya rasa terlalu rindu kepadanya. Kami berbual selama 45 minit dan di akhir pertemuan, Abah dibenarkan keluar dari bilik kurungan untuk bersalaman dengan saya dan Umi. Abah mengangkat, mendukung dan mencium saya berkali-kali. Saya terlalu rindukan Abah dan apabila warden bertugas menyuruh Abah masuk kembali ke bilik kurungan, saya menangis dan tidak mahu melepaskan pegangan pada lengan Abah...

Bagaikan binatang di zoo

Sejak hari pertama penahanan Abah hinggalah di saat ini, saya tidak pernah berpeluang mengerjakan solat dan membaca quran bersama beliau. Saya tidak mengharapkan duit belanja atau keluar membeli belah kerana memahami semua itu tidak mungkin dapat dilakukan bersama. Namun, satu perkara yang lebih memedihkan bermula pada bulan April 2005, kami keluarga tahanan hanya dibenarkan bertemu menggunakan interkom di sebalik dinding kaca lutsinar. Bila sahaja melihat Abah di sebalik cermin kaca, hati saya terasa hancur... Ketika itu, saya teringat binatang di zoo yang diletakkan di dalam kotak kaca. Apakah dosa dan kesalahan Abah diperlakukan sedemikian rupa. Sejak tarikh itu, setiap kali melawat Abah, saya hanya berpeluang bercakap melalui interkom dan duduk di sebalik kaca. Saya hanya dapat melihat wajah Abah, tetapi tidak dapat menyentuhnya...hati ini memang pedih yang teramat sangat.
Tujuh tahun saya dipisahkan dari Abah, namun tiada sebarang tanda beliau akan dibebaskan. Walaupun pada tahun 2009 ini ada dua pembebasan beramai-ramai yang mendapat tempat di dada media, namun nama Abah saya tiada dalam kedua-dua senarai pembebasan tersebut....

Perpisahan dengan Abah benar-benar membuat saya rasa rendah diri dan terpinggir. Saya terlalu ingin menjalani kehidupan harian bersama Abah. Saya ingin makan, berbual, bergurau senda dan melakukan pelbagai aktiviti harian bersamanya. Saya juga punya keinginan mempunyai keluarga yang lengkap, sama seperti orang lain.

Hingga kini saya tidak faham kenapa Abah saya, seorang yang pendiam dan mudah tersenyum, masih juga belum dibebaskan. Saya tidak tahu apakah sebenarnya kesalahan beliau kerana tahanan ISA lain yang ditahan bersama Abah tujuh tahun dulu, hampir semuanya telah pun dibebaskan... namun Abah masih tetap dikurung di Kem. Saya setuju dengan pendapat Umi bahawa Abah sepatutnya dibicarakan di mahkamah. Kalau benar ada bukti menyatakan dia salah, sekurang-kurangnya hakim akan menetapkan, bilakah tarikh akhir dia menjalani kehidupan sebagai banduan. Saya amat sedih mengenangkan kehidupan Abah dalam ketidakpastian selama tujuh tahun dan terus berlarutan.

Saya akan terus berdoa pada Allah supaya Abah segera dibebaskan...

*Testimoni ini ditulis oleh Suhaib Mat Sah, anak kepada tahanan ISA Mat Sah Satray. Mat Sah Satray ditahan sejak tahun 2002, dituduh terlibat dalam aktiviti Jemaah Islamiah, namun tidak pernah dibuktikan di mahkamah.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I’ve been wanting to write about Teoh Beng Hock’s mysterious death for ages but only today I have the strength to do it. It’s too heart wrenching to witness how the whole episode unfolds. I read the detailed report about Teoh’s death the moment I got back from Court on 17 July 2009. 17 July was my birthday. It was a really depressing day for me that I couldn’t stop thinking about it in every passing moment.

There are too many questions that linger around his death. The questions are left unanswered. Some people make cruel comments on Teoh’s death in response to public pressure calling for investigation.

In the midst of the raging tension, some people tend to forget that a life is lost. Some tend to forget that a mother is crying her heart out over her son’s death. Some tend to forget how many sleepless nights his family has to go through thinking about the unanswered questions. Some choose to ignore the issue. Some remain adamant in pursuit of truth.

God bless those who hold steadfast to their conviction in finding the truth. Only the truth will save us. Only when justice is upheld, we can proudly say out loud that we are dignified human beings.

Some ask does justice have a place in this beloved country of theirs? I understand the frustration and anger. It’s hard, that is one thing for sure. Bad things that happened are no longer a secret. Look at Kugan’s death. Look at Lingam’s case. Look at the cold blooded massacre in Memali. Look at the Federal Court’s decision on the barbaric act and torture inflicted on former ISA detainees. Look at this report. Look all around us. Nobody is held accountable. What have we become? Where is accountability? Where is due process? Who is going to put a stop to all these atrocious things?

There is only one thing for sure about all these things. We are all going to be held responsible for the things that happened right under our nose. Our inaction will hold us responsible and it will speak for itself. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Someone’s life might be lost again, while our conscience is wasting away.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Is it "fancy" to read law?

I've been down with fever for almost a week now. The doctor said there's nothing to be worried about.

I got two matters in court today. My opponent and I keyed in our attendance at 845am. We were kept waiting for hours and at some point I couldn't stand it any longer. The fact that I was still feeling unwell really aggravated the situation. As I was sitting next to my opponent, I noticed that both of us were exchanging expressions, we asked the same questions to each other and then we gave the same answers. "when is our case gonna be called?" "I don't know..""how long do we have to wait?""i don't know?". Part and parcel of being a litigation lawyer. Every one has to wait. All you gotta have is patience.

Right after we finished our matter, I headed straight to legal aid room on level 5 to have some words with some students who came to pay LAC a visit. They are on their semester break and now they are attached to zaid ibrahim & co. part of the attachment program is to visit LAC and to get to know how it works. While waiting for Edmund to come and share his experience with the students, i was asked to start first. I shared a little bit of my experience with the students. how do i get involved in legal aid, what legal aid is all about and what legal profession is all about.

Right after that, the floor was passed to Edmund. He asked them one simple question : why do they read law. This is the most interesting part of the whole session. Most of them answered the question by saying that they are interested in law. It sounds good. Or rather cool. There was only one person who answered, “I read law because I want to help those who are oppressed”. Edmund continued the session by focusing on the reality or the real work done by lawyers in Malaysia. From human rights cases, public interest cases, taking up legal aid files. A real dose of what this profession is all about.

Before we said goodbye, we took a group photo. Right before I left, the students came to me and asked "can we do attachment at LAC?". (Remember the interesting part of this whole thing? this is it).I told them "yes, of course, we would love to have you with us". They took down LAC contact number and what impressed me was the look on their faces. Revelation kinda thing!

See, in the beginning, reading law was rather a 'fancy' thing for some people, but when they know about the reality and how they can contribute to the society and affect changes, the passion speaks for itself.