‘Sad day’ if lawyers can’t dance, says gala dinner organiser after AG, CJ backlash

Attorney-General (AG) Tommy Thomas and Tan Sri Richard Malanjum were criticised for dancing at the group’s Opening of the Legal Year Gala Dinner . — Picture courtesy of Twitter/Rimau XI
Attorney-General (AG) Tommy Thomas and Tan Sri Richard Malanjum were criticised for dancing at the group’s Opening of the Legal Year Gala Dinner . — Picture courtesy of Twitter/Rimau XI

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 —  The Sabah Law Society (SLS) has slammed critics of its gala dinner last night, after Attorney General (AG) Tommy Thomas and Chief Justice (CJ) Tan Sri Richard Malanjum received flak for dancing during the event.

The organiser of the event said in a statement that the event was essentially a social and harmonious occasion reflective of its East Malaysian hospitality.

“The only real ‘twist’ is that of the facts and we have faith that our society is similarly mature enough to recognise that the individuals in the video are able to separate their professional life from the personal.

“It would be a sad day for our legal community if members feel constrained from dancing at an annual social occasion such as the OLY 2019 as a result of such unsubstantiated criticism,” its president Brenndon Soh said.

Thomas and Malanjum were criticised for dancing at the group’s Opening of the Legal Year Gala Dinner 2019 in Kota Kinabalu, prompting accusation of fraternising and tarnishing the image of the judiciary.

The two were dancing to popular 60s rock ‘n roll tune Let’s Twist Again by Chubby Checker, which popularised the twist dancing mania.

The video was also said to feature minister in charge of law Datuk Liew Vui Keong, and prominent lawyers and activists Datuk S. Ambiga and Siti Kasim.

SLS explained today that the dinner function is an annual celebratory tradition for Sabah and Sarawak after the formal ceremonial proceedings in the morning, and was a closed door celebration by all stakeholders of the legal fraternity.

It said the event has been held since 2001 and is “the hallmark of a mature legal community”.