LAWYERS ON TRIAL – A MURDER MOST FOUL
ARE THESE AN EXCEPTION TO OR ARE THEY THEY RULE
The legal profession in Malaysia has been unaccountable and unresponsive to the public for too long. The government now has an obligation to intervene and to dissolve the Malaysian Bar and its affiliated bodies and to bring them all under the control of a statutory body or the Attorney General or minister for law and order.
These suspects in the murder of Sosilawati (and I stress suspects) lawyers, are no different to the vast majority of lawyers practising in Malaysia. They have little or no effective supervision over their conduct as lawyers or over the quality of the services in law they provide to their long suffering overcharged clients.
Some like the accused in the Sosilawati murders have in the past and continue in the present to indulge in extra legal activities as an adjunct to their regular legal professional activities, using strong arm tactics to get the results they want from their clients and their opponents. Often employing illicit means to obtain an advantage over their opponents. There is nothing new in the conduct of much of the legal profession in this regard.
Others still (at a perceived higher level of the profession) use the muscle of political influence, engage corrupt police as enforcers, whilst many more engage in the practice of extortion in its pure definition. These allegations appear from individual complaints to be the rule rather than the exception in the legal profession in Malaysia, although these allegations if put to the bar council are likely to be vehemently denied by their board.
The most despicable of offences lawyers are accused of arise from their failure to perform adequately and honourably their obligations towards clients in “capital” cases facing death. Especially where “capital” cases are concerned their conduct is found to be seriously wanting.
The level of extortion and emotional blackmailing of families of death row inmates is legend in the Malaysian legal profession. No conclusive or indepth study into misconduct in the legal profession in Malaysia of any substance has to date been undertaken by anyone. An opportunity or the purpose has now arisen and government must rise to the occassion.
There is a plethora of evidence both anecdotal and substantive which demands the government must act with a Royal Commission of inquiry and to now turn the blow torch on the bellies of these yellow livered bunch of bullies, a law unto themselves thus far in the wake of the Sosilawati murder.
These allegations of improper conduct applies also to those so called “top” criminal lawyers in the country including in particular those who sit in parliament and on large corporations and on public committees for a side income and influence, hiding behind legal and parliamentary privilege to carry out their deeds. Their privileged positions have become their fig leaf to conceal their otherwise nefarious, unmeritorious and disgraceful conduct, eagerly blaming their failures on government in the process.
The collective failure of the legal profession to perform to a standard expected of them is whats at issue here. And without a governing body capable of enforcing those standards, this is the result. An extreme example though this may be, it nonetheless is a wake up call to all. Bring the bar to heel and get rid of that politically driven coeterie of loud mouths who use their privilege and profession to attack government, dividing the community in the process and defaming anyone who does not see the world through their eyes, whilst ignoring their primary role in service to the public.
AN OPEN AND INDEPENDENT INQUIRY INTO THE LEGAL PROFESSION NOW
An open inquiry and a public audit of legal practitioners and their firms will no doubt be resisted at every level to protect what has become a golden goose to many in the profession. An indepedent outside body should be appointed to audit the practicing standards of individual lawyers urgently as a priority.
The Bar Council should have no input into the process. The vast majority of them live in an intellectual and regulatory vacuum believing themselves to be competent and efficient, the source of their self righteousness. What is likely to come out of such an inquiry will undoubtedly shock the nation. It is a long overdue exercise into a self regulated incompetent unaccountable powerful sector of the community working against the public interests.
The governing peak professional body of the legal profession in Malaysia, The Malaysian Bar is a self serving inept body incapable of any supervisory role over their members. They perform a cursory duty to themselves behind closed doors. The body itself at its board level is made up of equally inefficient and incompetent people. Mostly loud mouths who seek power at any cost even if that comes at the expense of the paying suffering public.
The legal profession should be opened up to independent public scrutiny now. The quality of legal services are overly expensive and very low by universal standards. There ought to be an inquiry into the profession and the Malaysian Bar Council itself. Government has been delivered an opportunity on a silver platter to once and for all shake up these self appointed self serving spokespeople for the rights of everyone, who in reality have been serving themselves all the way to the bank, unaccountable to the public they are meant to serve in the process.
A final note:
Datukships like that purportedly given to the accused in the Sosilawati murder, have been on sale for a while. Let’s make no pretences about the point. It demeans the role of our traditional rulers and brings the title into disrepute.
Each of the accused if found guilty by a competent court should be hanged till dead. It is hoped the legal profession has something to say for their members facing charges of a capital offence. Human life has become a dispensable commodity in Malaysia in its quest for personal wealth and materialism.
Likewise it is hoped that the Malaysian bar will have th courage of their ‘convictions’ to come forward and assure the public that the allegations against tow and possibly more of their membership are isolated cases of individuals within the profession going astray, rather than this being an extreme of the example of what really goes on within the legal profession in Malaysia.
The silence of the Bar Council and the Malaysian Bar in the face of such an event as the Sosilawati murder allegations levelled against one of their own, may well and justly be interpreted as a form of acknowledgement by the Malaysian Bar, that thee are paralysed by the truth emerging about what many have over the years suspected of their collective membership as a dishonourable and lawless body of self serving individuals in whom the trust of a nation has been betrayed.
Gopal Raj Kumar