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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bersih urges Suhakam to probe police violence

Tunku Aziz a man of principle and integrity, says Kit Siang


The party stalwart today called on Tunku Aziz and DAP to “move on in our separate but still common destiny to create a clean Malaysia.” — file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 — Lim Kit Siang has called Tunku Aziz Tunku Ibrahim “a man of principle and integrity” despite the former DAP vice-chairman accusing Lim’s son of being untrustworthy and lacking decency.

Kit Siang’s son Guan Eng, the party secretary general, had publicly rebuked the ex-Bank Negara advisor for not toeing the party line and refusing to support Bersih’s April 28 “illegal street protest.”

But party stalwart Kit Siang, whom Tunku Aziz said he still respected and has a decades-long friendship with, called on the founding president of Transparency International Malaysia and DAP to “move on in our separate but still common destiny to create a clean Malaysia.”

“I would have been the first to welcome any change of mind by Tunku Abdul Aziz about his resignation as DAP national vice chairman and DAP member but I fully respect his decision if his mind is set on resignation.

“Over the decades, I have known Tunku Aziz as a man of principle and integrity and my views have not changed one dot, as Tunku Aziz would have known in our three recent meetings, twice at his house and the third time in Parliament,” he said in a press statement this evening.

The DAP parliamentary leader added that “if a parting of ways with his resignation from the party is unavoidable, let it be as gentlemanly as possible with the minimum of rancour and acrimony.”

Guan Eng also refused earlier today to “exchange personal attacks” with Tunku Aziz despite the latter claiming the Penang chief minister had insulted him by “dangling” a job offer before he quit the party on Monday night.

Guan Eng had also said in an immediate response yesterday that he would try to convince the former party vice-chairman to rethink his quit move.

But Tunku Aziz, who was the party’s most senior Malay leader, has since openly criticised the Bagan MP in an interview with The Star published this morning, saying Guan Eng was “biadap” (uncouth) and that he did not trust him.

“I have no wish to exchange personal attacks against Tunku but to convey the party’s thanks for his service during his four years as national vice-chair of DAP. Time will prove who is on the right side of history,” Guan Eng said in a statement that signalled the end of efforts to woo back the 78-year-old.

Tunku Aziz told The Star that Guan Eng had called him on Sunday offering him a senior fellowship in Penang Institute and “[dangled] travel as an attraction” after his tenure as senator was not renewed.

“Then yesterday, Zairil Khir Johari (Lim’s political secretary) called and repeated the offer and stated there was a stipend of RM50,000 to go with it.

“Totally, totally insulting, and I could only conclude that it had come from someone who had no sense and not even a modicum of respect.

“Did he think I was that kind of person? This man has no sense of decency. The only word is a Malay word, and it’s ‘biadap’,” he was quoted by the English daily as saying.

But DAP and the Penang Institute have insisted that the job offer was “genuine” and that it had nothing to do with Tunku Aziz leaving the party or to compensate for the loss of his senatorship.

DAP has tried to reach out to Malays, who make up 60 per cent of the 12-million strong electorate, by recruiting leaders such as Tunku Aziz.

But he has conceded his failure to win over the community to the Chinese-dominated party that has been accused by Umno of being anti-Malay and anti-Islam.

Khalid orders ‘thosai telur’

However, the deputy IGP says the area outside his house will not be suitable and suggests that the stall be set up at a nearby field so that a 'thosai carnival' can be held.

PETALING JAYA: Deputy Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar has welcomed a NGO’s plan to promote thosai in his residential area.

However, he told FMT that setting up the stall outside his house in Ampang would not be a suitable choice.

“I live in a terrace house, so setting up a stall outside my house will disrupt traffic flow and pose an inconvenience to my neighbours.

“Furthermore, the house is located on a slope, so the pots with the curry and dhal may tilt and spill the contents all over the place,” he joked.

Instead, Khalid, who confessed to being a thosai lover, suggested that the NGO, WargaAMAN, erect the stall at an open field located near his house, which would attract more people.

“I can invite my neighbours and I will also ask my officers to join in as well. We can have a ‘thosai carnival’. But the organiser must ensure that the thosai is delicious,” he said.

Making a personal request, the deputy police chief said he preferred the “thosai telur”, which is made with eggs, and hoped that the organiser would be able to serve this on Sunday.

This afternoon, WargaAMAN secretary S Barathidasan invited the public to participate in the event where piping hot free thosai would be available.

However, he said this was not in reaction to the infamous burger protest held outside Bersih co-chairperson S Ambiga’s house last week.

Culinary lessons

The burger protest was organised by a NGO called Malaysia Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Alliance (Ikhlas) who claimed to have incurred massive losses as a result of the Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28.

Meanwhile, Khalid also pointed out that he previously explained that no action was taken against the burger protesters because they did not commit any “criminal offence.”

WargaAMAN had said that it chose the deputy police chief’s house because of his statement regarding the protest outside Ambiga’s house.

“Since Khalid said what he said, we chose his house. This is the assurance he gave. Moreover he is the number two cop in the country… it would be safe outside his house,” quipped Barathidasan.

He also stressed that it would not be a protest but more of a thosai promotional event since the dish had been declared a heritage food by the Malaysian Heritage Department.

Apart from free thosai, those attending the event would also receive culinary lessons on how to make the popular Indian dish.

Free thosai outside DIG’s house

An Indian NGO claims that it wants to promote the heritage dish and denies that it has anything to do with the burger protest outside S Ambiga's house.

KUALA LUMPUR: Fancy a free thosai breakfast this Sunday?

If you do, then head down to Ampang as a coalition of 20 Indian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are planning to set up a thosai stall in front of the Deputy Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar’s residence on May 20.

Urging the public to attend the event, the movement dubbed WargaAMAN, said the stall would provide free thosai to all this Sunday, starting 10am, at Jalan 2/7G, Taman Bukit Teratai, Ampang.

WargaAMAN secretary S Barathidasan claimed that the event had “no connection” with the burger stall set up by some traders in front of Bersih co-chairperson S Ambiga’s house last week.

Last Thursday, a group of burger sellers staged a protest in front of Ambiga’s house by distributing 200 burgers.

Organised by an NGO called Malaysia Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Alliance (Ikhlas), they set up the stall to show their displeasure over the April 28 Bersih rally, which Ikhlas claimed had disrupted their livelihood.

The NGO alleged that burger stall owners had suffered losses amounting to RM200,000 due to the rally, concentrated in certain parts of the federal capital.

Subsequently, Khalid, when asked why the police did not act against the burger stall owners, had replied that it was not wrong to sit in front of anyone’s house provided they did not disturb the occupants of the dwelling.

The DIG had said that there was nothing wrong with protesting outside a person’s house as long as the occupants are not disturbed.

“What offence? If you want to sit in front of her (Ambiga’s) house without disrupting other people, there is no offence.

“As long as they don’t commit any offence such as trespassing on private property, we will not take action,” Khalid had told a press conference in reference to the “burger protest.”

WargaAMAN, however, is firm that the event in front of Khalid’s house this Sunday would not be a protest but more of a thosai promotional event.

“We plan to promote thosai… Malaysians seems to have forgotten about the dish which had been classified as a heritage food by the Malaysian Heritage Department

“So, the event will be more of an awareness campaign… it is more to introduce the dish than a protest,” added Barathidasan.

Apart from a free thosai meal, the public would also be taught how to make good thosai.

“Since Khalid had said what he said, we chose his house. This is the assurance he gave. Moreover he is the number two cop in the country… it would be very safe outside his house,” he quipped.

‘Licence to grill’

In a related development, another NGO condemned the vulgar aerobic exercise staged outside Ambiga’s house.

Persatuan Kebajikan, Sosial Gemilang Puchong president V Rameshwaran said he was apalled that ex-servicemen could stoop so low.

“This is disgraceful, these men are supposed to be role models for the younger generation. It is a shame that they chose to behave in such a crude manner.

“It is acts like these that upset the public and turn Malaysia into a laughing stock. It will also make the people angrier with Barisan Nasional,” he told FMT.

Rameshwaran said Ambiga was defending the constitutional rights of Malaysians, including that of the ex-servicemen who staged the lewd protest.

As for the police’s justification for not acting against the “burger” protest, he suggested that stall owners whose premises were demolished by DBKL should set up stalls outside the houses of the mayor and Khalid.

“This is wonderful news. Now everyone has the ‘licence to grill’ outside anyone’s house, including that of the mayor, police chief, prime minister and ministers,” he said.

Lawyer: Burger protest flouted DBKL by-laws

Contrary to what DIG Khalid Abu Bakar has said, a lawyer claims the protesters flouted the law.

PETALING JAYA: The protest by burger sellers outside Bersih co-chairman S Ambiga’s house last week had flouted two Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) by-laws.

According to lawyer K Shanmuga, the protesters violated the Licensing of Hawkers and Stalls (Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur) 1989 which was enacted under the Local Government Act.

He said the by-laws stipulated that hawkers are allowed to operate only at certain locations

“DBKL does not issue roving license. The business must operate at a fixed location,” he added, citing by-laws 11(1) and 22(2).

Bylaw 11(1) states that a stall licence should be in respect of a specified site whereas by-law 22(2) states that itinerant hawkers cannot remain stationary in any place except when selling food.

The by-laws are enforced by the DBKL and those found guilty can be fined RM1,000.

FMT had sent an email to DBKL regarding this matter, but had yet to receive a response.

Last Thursday, a group of burger stall operators from an NGO called Malaysia Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Alliance (Ikhlas) set up their stalls in front of Ambiga’s home and distributed free burgers.

They claimed to have suffered losses amounting to RM200,000 due to the Bersih 3.0 rally led by Ambiga on April 28.

Following this, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said that the burger stall operators did not commit an offence since they did not breach the Peaceful Assembly Act.

“What offence? If you want to sit in front of her house without disrupting other people, there is no offence. As long as they don’t commit any offence such as trespassing on private property, we will not take action,” he had said.

Demos had Putrajaya’s okay

In another development Human rights watchdog Proham criticised the two protests held in front of Ambiga’s house as “an insensitive act [that] had unfortunately received the endorsement of some individuals in the federal administration.”

“What is more worrying is the insensitivity of selling beef burgers in front of an individual who is a vegetarian and a Hindu,” the NGO said in a statement.

It likened the demonstration to the notorious August 2009 incident in which a group of Muslims used the severed head of a cow to protest against the relocation of a Hindu temple in Shah Alam.

The statement carried the signatures of former Suhakam commissioners Simon Sipaun, Ramon Navaratnam, Hamdan Adnan and Denison Jayasooria.

The burger protest, carried out by a NGO called Malaysia Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Alliance (Ikhlas), happened on Thursday. Yesterday, retired soldiers followed suit when they assembled in front of Ambiga’s house and did mock physical exercises, bending so that their buttocks faced the house.

Proham said the two protests were “improper, inappropriate and in bad taste” and that they invaded the privacy of the Bersih leader.

Proham also took the police and local council to task, noting that policemen were present during the buttock show.

“The authorities, including the local council and police, seemed to have turned a blind eye, especially towards the threat issued by army veterans,” the statement said.

“Proham also calls on both the police and local authorities to ensure that the perception of apparent selective enforcement and justice is not created in the public mind. On the contrary, the authorities concerned should be careful to take proper action to enhance responsible policing and local government enforcement.”

‘Teacher called students Hindu Pariah’

Both education department officials and the headmistress of SMK George Town have been accused of attempting to cover up the matter.

GEORGE TOWN: Racism has reared its ugly head in schools again and sources claim that there is an attempt to cover up the latest incident.

As the nation celebrates Teachers’ Day today, FMT however was alerted about a disturbing episode which took place at SMK George Town here.

Last week, a teacher at the secondary school had allegedly scolded a group of Indian Form Five students, calling them “Hindu Pariah.”

The teacher, Sabariah Ramli in her late 30s, was also accused of deliberately giving high demerit points to the students during the incident on May 9.

She also allegedly ticked off two other Indian Muslim boys for befriending the Indian students.

Sources claimed that education authorities and headmistress Farah Shikh Abd Rahman attempted to cover up the matter and defended the teacher when confronted by parents of the affected students.

A 16-year-old student lodged a police report last Friday on the matter while an official complaint was also filed by the students with the school authorities.

However, the student later retracted the report, with sources claiming that the headmistress had threatned the student’s father that his son would have a black mark in his school leaving certificate if the report was not withdrawn.

According to the police report, the students were talking in class after an examination when the teacher shouted at them.

She had allegedly singled out the group of Indian students and told them: “Hei Hindu diam (Hindu shut up).” Following this, she called them “Hindu Pariah.”

The teacher also allegedly tampered with the students demerit points after obtaining their signatures on originally lighter demerit points.

One of the student’s demerit points was visibly modified from 10 to 20 while another was modified from 15 to 25.

Sources said that demerit points above 20 could lead to a student’s dismissal but such heavy demerit points were usually given only for criminal acts such as drug abuse, stealing or gang-related activities.

FMT learnt that the headmistress defended the teacher’s behaviour claiming that Sabariah might have over-reacted due to work stress.

‘Students warned with disciplinary action’


Seri Delima assemblyman RSN Rayer, who received a report on the incident, had lodged a complaint with the state education department to resolve the controversy as soon as possible.

“I have told the department to transfer out the teacher, failing which I will call for a meeting with representatives of the school parents-teachers association,” he said.

Following Rayer’s complaint, a team of education officials came to the school in Jalan Batu Lanchang yesterday and recorded statements from the affected students, witnesses and teachers.

Sources claimed that the officials, comprising Mohd Raffie Bachik, Huzaid Ibrahim and Daud Shaari, warned the students and witnesses to “keep their mouth shut” over the incident.

The students were warned of dire consequences if they were to disseminate any information on the issue to outsiders, including their parents.

Some six students, which included those of other races, who gave statements to the officials, had also claimed that the ministry-commissioned investigators threatened them with severe disciplinary action.

Some of them, said sources, were warned that they would be barred from sitting for the SPM examination this year.

Farah, who became the school’s headmistress some four years ago, was also accused of uttering derogatory remarks against Indian teachers and parents previously.

When contacted on the latest incident, Farah told FMT to refer to state education director Ahmad Tarmizi Kamaruddin.

Ahmad Tarmizi, however, could not be reached despite numerous phone calls and text messages.

Meanwhile, the teacher had also lodged a police report yesterday claiming that she had been threatened with harm by four school students.

Last March, Nibong Tebal’s SMK Tunku Abdul Rahman headmaster Ng Tong Koang, 56, allegedly used the word “pariah” to scold parents of schoolchildren for making a prohibited U-Turn at a nearby traffic light. He later apologised.

The word “pariah”, considered derogatory to Indians, was central to the recent Interlok novel controversy.

The novel, which contained such references to the Indian community, was initially earmarked to be used for the Malay literature subject for students but was later revoked after strong objections.

Education dept probing ‘racist’ teacher

The Penang education department has initiated an internal inquiry into allegations that a teacher from SMK George Town uttered racial slurs against a group of Indian students.

PETALING JAYA: The Penang education department is conducting an internal probe into the alleged “Hindu Pariah” remark made by a secondary school teacher in the state.

State education director Ahmad Tarmizi Kamaruddin told FMT that two officers have been sent to gather more information from the school, students, parents and police on the matter.

“We knew about it since last Friday and our officers are investigating. We’re gathering evidence for our internal inquiry and we’ll also see what the police have to say, as we don’t want to jeopardise their case,” he said.

Ahmad Tarmizi also said that his department was also concerned about allegations of attempts to cover up the case by his department and the school.

“That’s what is being alleged. I want to know who is the officer who is talking about covering up or trying to hide information about this case. Is this person from the department or what? For now it’s just hearsay.

“I want to know. Who is the one who hid this information? How did this happen? The issue is what she actually uttered. Did she actually say those words? If it is true, she should admit it, if she did not, we also need witnesses to prove it. If the school is hiding information from us, why was that done? I was informed that our information was different from what reporters received,” he added.

Ahmad Tarmizi said aside from the police case, the department could take various actions against the teacher if she was found guilty.

“If we look at this case, if it’s true, the teacher can be punished for breaching discipline. We can give her a warning or deduct her pay, depending on what we find. If she really did such a thing, we can suggest to the upper management, the ministry, to take stern action,” he added.

Independent probe

Ahmad Tarmizi assured that the department, as “third party observers”, would follow up on the matter, and added that he had even advised his investigating officers to conduct the probe independent from each other.

Responding to a question, he said the teacher had no prior disciplinary problems.

Earlier today, FMT reported that a teacher at SMK George Town had allegedly used racial slurs to scold a group of Indian Form Five students.

The teacher, Sabariah Ramli, had allegedly uttered the words “Hindu Pariah” and was also accused of deliberately giving high demerit points to the students during the incident on May 9.

She also allegedly ticked off two other Indian Muslim boys for befriending the Indian students.

There were also claims of an attempt by the state education department and the school’s headmistress to cover up the incident.

Meanwhile, National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) president Hashim Adnan declined to comment on the matter.

“It’s only reported online? No hard copy? I only comment on things that have been published and printed in national newspapers and which is already out in the public. Please call my secretary-general for comments,” he told FMT.

Sooriyan drags OMS Thiagarajan in Tamil Schools Spat

The Traveler, Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Klang Midlands Tamil School board chairman Uthyasooriyan, who is under fire for the 1.9 million outsourcing of multi-purpose hall, has dragged OMS Thiagarajan in the ongoing spat and insinuated that K P Samy did not settle the RM 50,000 donation to Simpang Lima Tamil School (SLTS).
“Did K P Samy really give RM 50,000 as promised?” Sooriyan retorted, according to Makkal Osai Tamil daily today.
R N Nathan, Bandar Botanic MIC Chairman, earlier produced the donors list published in SLTS publications as evidence.  Side stepping this evidence, Sooriyan insisted that K P Samy donated nothing ever since he became the STLS Parents & Teachers Association Chairman in 2008.
Apparently, OMS Thiagarajan headed the SLTS Board and also the additional Building construction in 2006. That being so, now Sooriyan wants OMS or K P Samy to confirm whether the donations were indeed settled.
Uthyasooriyan has conveniently side tracked the issue, providing selective answers and being silent on a whole lot of questions.
Why no response to K P Samy’s questions?
What is the rate charged for the hall? Is it RM 14,000?
The hall outsourced for how many? 15 years?
How was the contractor selected?
Why can’t the Selangor state government absorb the 1.3 million needed for the hall construction ?
What is the value of the land returned to i-City? 3 million or 20 million ?
Why the School Board stormed K P Samy’s office?
Why the School Board returned K P Samy’s donation?
As the Chairman, rather than side tracking the issue, Uthyasooriyan is duty bound to explain the above questions .  

Sooriyan
makkal osai
donation list

NGO: Protests against Ambiga 'in bad taste'

Human rights watchdog Proham condemned the recent protests in front of Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan's personal residence, calling the incidents "improper, inappropriate and in bad taste".

While citizens have the right to gather peacefully, as laid out in the Federal Constitution, the two "acts of intimidation" are an invasion of Ambiga's privacy and religious standing, the NGO said in a statement today.

NONE"What is more worrying is the insensitivity of selling beef burgers in front of an individual who is a vegetarian and a Hindu," it said, comparing the incident to the ‘cow head' protest by a group of Muslims in response to the planned relocation of a Hindu temple in 2009.

Proham was referring to the May 10 protest where hawkers group Ikhlas set up a burger stall outside the Bersih leader's house, and the May 15 protest where a group of army veterans conducted ‘butt exercises' at the same location.

Furthermore, the group claimed that the protests would set precedents, since the authorities seemed to have turned a "blind eye" to the events, especially the potentially threatening remarks made by the group of army veterans.

Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans Association president Mohd Ali Baharom had warned Ambiga not to "cause problems" for the country again, saying: "We will act if you smear the country's name."

The group urged protesters to refrain from carrying out demonstrations in private residential areas in order to avoid such violations of cultural sensitivities and personal intimidation.

"Proham also calls on both the police and local authorities to ensure that the perception of apparent selective enforcement and justice is not created in the public mind," it added.

Proham, or Association for the Promotion of Human Rights, is a relatively new human rights watchdog led by a group of former Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) members.

The press release today was signed by Proham chairperson Simon Sipaun, members Hamdan Adnan, Denison Jayasooria and Ramon Navaratnam.

You are wrong, French lawyer tells Zahid Hamidi

Lawyer Joseph Brehem, who is currently in France pursuing the inquiry into the Malaysian purchase of French submarines, rebutted Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s statement that the French courts have no jurisdiction over Malaysians.

NONE“French courts have jurisdiction on anyone, being French or not, as soon as they are involved in a matter the courts are inquiring on. To say otherwise is either misleading or erroneous,” Brehem (right in photo) said in a statement issued by Suaram today.

Suaram, the local human rights NGO, has filed a civil suit with the French courts to look into the government’s purchase of the submarines.

On Monday, Ahmad Zahid insisted that the French courts have no jurisdiction to summon Malaysians to testify in the ongoing inquiry.
Warrant of arrest
“Who are they to issue a warrant of arrest? We are not subjected to French laws,” he said.

He was responding to an earlier statement by Brehem that an international arrest warrant can be issued by a French judge if a witness refuses to assist in an inquiry following the issuance of a subpoena.

“If the witness refuses to abide by the subpoena, the court can issue a notice mandat d'amener, compelling the witness to appear before it. If the witness (still) fails to oblige, a warrant of arrest may be issued.

“The warrant of arrest is applicable within the French territory, and may be internationalised if the judge deems it necessary,” said Brehem.

Ahmad Zahid is named in the list of seven witnesses proposed by Suaram, which was accepted by French investigating judge Roger Le Loire.

However, this does not mean that all seven witnesses, including Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his associate Abdul Razak Baginda, will be subpoenaed by the inquiry.

The French judge is currently in the process of issuing subpoenas.

Tunku Aziz – lets move on in our separate but still common destiny to create a clean Malaysia which upholds integrity, human rights and the just rule of law

I would have been the first to welcome any change of mind by Tunku Abdul Aziz about his resignation as DAP National Vice Chairman and DAP member but I fully respect his decision if his mind is set on resignation.

Over the decades, I have known Tunku Aziz as a man of principle and integrity and my views have not changed one dot, as Tunku Aziz would have known in our three recent meetings, twice at his house and the third time in Parliament.

If a parting of ways with his resignation from the party is unavoidable, let it be as gentlemanly as possible with the minimum of rancor and acrimony. Let us move on in our separate but still common destiny to create a new and clean Malaysia which upholds integrity, human rights and the just rule of law with an equal place under Malaysian sun for every Malaysian.

Many thanks to Tunku Aziz for his services and contributions as DAP National Vice Chairman as well as the first DAP Senator from Penang.

Move to set up law academy to check Bar Council's monopoly

The Sun 
by Hemananthani Sivanandam and Pauline Wong

PUTRAJAYA (May 15, 2012): The government will look into reviving the Malaysian Academy of Law Bill, which was dropped in 2002, as part of its plan to create an alternative to the Malaysian Bar.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz told theSun he will discuss with Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail and raise the matter in the cabinet soon.

The bill, first tabled in 2002 to provide for the setting up of a legal academy with functions overlapping that of the Bar Council, was subsequently dropped "out of respect for the Bar".

However, Nazri who is de facto law minister said today that the bill will be revisited, albeit with some improvements.

"It (the Bar) is very partisan in its accusations, and I do not think it should be given the monopoly (to represent the legal community)," Nazri had said on Monday, when commenting on the Bar Council's extraordinary general meeting (EGM) last Friday where a resolution condemning the use of excessive force by the police during the Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28 was passed.

Several lawyers had subsequently also attacked the Bar Council, accusing it of being a tool for the Opposition.

Nazri had earlier claimed that the Malaysian Bar does not represent the majority voice of the lawyers, as even the election of the Bar Council was monopolised by a small group.

He said in view of frustrations voiced by disgruntled lawyers with the Bar Council, the government was looking into forming an alternate body to represent the profession, welfare and legal interests of lawyers.

In a statement yesterday, Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee said the Malaysian Bar was flabbergasted by Nazri's suggestion last Sunday that the Bar dissolve itself for bringing shame to the profession .

He said Nazri's announcement on the proposed law academy appears to have come purely as a reaction to the Bar's strong message in its final report on Bersih 3.0 and the resolution adopted at the Bar EGM.

"The announcement lends itself to the perception that the proposal is revived from time to time when the government feels threatened by
an independent Bar that does not countenance the abuse of power by the institutions of the state, the police in this case, and speaks up in defence of the public at large," Lim said.

Lim said the proposal to set up a law academy as an alternative to the Malaysian Bar is "fundamentally flawed" as under the LPA, only the Bar Council is empowered to set standards for the legal profession, issue practising certificates, and regulate members of the Bar.

"The creation of any "alternative" institution empowered to control the conduct of the legal profession would usurp the functions and powers of the Bar Council under the act, ignore its powers and duty to regulate its own affairs, and would be an intolerable assault on the independence of the Malaysian Bar," he said.

"The Malaysian Bar is opposed to this suggestion, which appears similar to the proposal that the government had mooted, and subsequently withdrawn, twice in the past," he said.

Lim said the Bar welcomes any move to encourage legal excellence and promote academic standards, but it cannot be dissolved because it is established under the Legal Profession Act 1976 (LPA).

"We urge the government not to attack the messenger, but to act on the message contained in the Bar's final report and the EGM resolution instead," he added.

Tunku Abdul Aziz's Action To Leave Party Shows DAP Ruled With Iron Fist - Rais

KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 (Bernama) -- Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said the decision by DAP Vice Chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim to relinquish his post showed that the party ruled with an 'iron fist' by not allowing its members to speak out.

In contrast, the democracy practiced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was the best whereby he accepted criticism from the people and took the necessary steps to rectify mistakes in the administration and did not sack Barisan Nasional (BN) members as he wished.

"There must have been certain issues that Tunku Abdul Aziz did not agree or not happy when deciding to resign as a matter of principle," Rais told reporters after a Special Installation Committee appreciation dinner in conjunction with the installation of Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah as the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, here Wednesday night.

Tunku Abdul Aziz resigned from his post as DAP Vice Chairman and walked out of the party two days ago after disagreeing with the rally held on April 28, which eventually turned into a riot.

Meanwhile, Rais urged a detailed study be conducted on the proposal to set up a Law Academy as an alternative to the Bar Council.

Rais however, said he was not in favour of the proposal because 'the time is not right'.

He however, agreed with views from various parties that the Bar Council should be a neutral body and not be involved in politics.