Bar Council calls for Bukit Aman rally over sedition probe on lawyers

Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru said that it was unacceptable for the police to record statements from four lawyers over a motion urging the Attorney-General to resign. — File pic
Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru said that it was unacceptable for the police to record statements from four lawyers over a motion urging the Attorney-General to resign. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — The Bar Council has called on lawyers to gather at the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman tomorrow when four lawyers will be questioned under the Sedition Act 1948 over a Malaysian Bar motion urging the Attorney-General to resign.

Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru said in a circular to members of the peninsula legal body today that it was unacceptable for the police to record statements from Malaysian Bar secretary Karen Cheah, as well as the three lawyers — Charles Hector Fernandez, Francis Pereira and R. Shanmugam — who had moved the motion that was later adopted at the Malaysian Bar’s annual general meeting (AGM) on March 19 with over 700 votes.

“Members of the Bar are invited to be present at the Bar Council Secretariat and at the PDRM Headquarters in Bukit Aman, to show support for our four abovementioned Members,” Steven said in the circular sighted by Malay Mail Online, using the Malay initials for the Royal Malaysian Police.

“The action taken by PDRM is unacceptable. It is an interference with the Bar Council’s statutory obligation to convene and conduct the AGM, and the statutory entitlement of Members of the Malaysian Bar to move motions for the consideration of the Malaysian Bar, consistent with the Malaysian Bar’s objects and powers under the Legal Profession Act 1976,” he added.

The Malaysian Bar has long opposed the Sedition Act, with hundreds of lawyers staging a march in 2014 to call for the repeal of the colonial era law that they say violates freedom of speech and expression.

The contentious motion at the Malaysian Bar’s recent AGM had urged Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali to resign as Attorney-General over his handling of the cases involving state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), former 1MDB unit SRC International, and the transfer of RM2.6 billion into the prime minister’s personal accounts.

Apandi told a press conference on January 26 that he found that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak did not commit any criminal offence in the cases of SRC International and the RM2.6 billion transfer, which he said was a donation from the Saudi royalty.