Monday, January 12, 2015

Is IPCMC a politically fashionable issue to you, Datuk Gani Patail?

Press Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on 12th, January, 2015

Is IPCMC a politically fashionable issue to you, Datuk Gani Patail?

At the opening of Legal Year 2015 two days ago, Attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail took aim at the Bar Council, saying that it was inappropriate for the body to take up "politically fashionable" issues.

It was reported that he said the Bar Council's primary responsibility is to advance the cause of justice and rule of law.

"In this vein, it would be even less appropriate for a nation's legal professional body, which is statutorily established to regulate the legal profession, to be focused on politically fashionable issues of the day, while the profession itself runs asunder," he said.  

I am puzzled by the term politically fashionable issues mentioned by Gani. What exactly are these issues?

Gani should be clearer with his criticisms and mention the issues which he thinks are thepolitically fashionable issues taken up by the Bar, so that the Bar can answer or debate with him.

The Bar Council has taken up many public interest issues and I definitely think it is right and necessary for it to be concerned with and to take up these issues.

One issue which has been taken up by Bar Council is the need for the government to setup the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

Despite repeated assurances by the Police and the government, deaths in police custodyhave continued unabated.

In 2013. then High Court Judge V.T. Singham had in the Kugan verdict said the IPCMC should be set up as soon as possible because members of the public and family members of victims involved had little confidence in investigations carried out by the police.

I have also made repeated calls, inside and outside parliament, for the immediate set up of the IPCMC. Yet till today, the government has still refused to do so.

I have been pursuing this issue not because it is politics or fashion, but because this issue involves public interest and the loss of lives.

Can Gani explain if the setting up of IPCMC is one of the politically fashionable issues mentioned by him? Even if he has defined such issue as politically fashionable, why is it wrong or inappropriate for Bar Council to take up such issue to prevent more deaths from happening?

Another issue which has been taken up by the Bar Council is the need to repeal the draconian and outdated Sedition Act.

On Sept 19 last year, the Bar convened an Extraordinary General Meeting 2014 to condemn the use and continued use of the Sedition Act 1948. Then on Oct 16, it held a walk to protest the spate of arrests, charges and investigations under the Sedition Act 1948.

Again, is Sedition Act and its abuse a politically fashionable issue to the Attorney General?

AG should read the legal profession Act which specifically demands the Bar Council under section 42 to act without fear or favour. The Bar is in the correct direction as it is articulating for the betterment of the Bar and it's members. These are among others the primary objects and purpose of the Bar. In fact , a far sighted AG would complement the progressive activities of the Bar. Be an agent of change, AG!

I have no doubt that  Malaysians believe that Bar Council has a responsibility to speak up on public interest issues and strongly support Bar Council’s courageous role in championing justice, democracy and human rights.

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