After assault on judiciary, ex-Bar presidents bid to rally lawyers for another ‘Walk for Justice’

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 — Several former Malaysian Bar presidents are pushing for another “Walk for Justice” to defend the judiciary against alleged intimidation.

In an online petition to the Bar Council, the former presidents urged it to organise a walk to send a clear message to those who “seek to interfere” in the judiciary.

“The Malaysian Bar is known for its courage in fulfilling its purpose under Section 42 of the Legal Profession Act 1976 to uphold the cause of justice without fear or favour.

“Recent events have shown a total disregard by certain quarters for the hallowed principle of the independence of the judiciary by actions that can only be described as intimidation of this vital institution.

“It is time for the bar to once again rise and fearlessly defend the institution of the judiciary. It is time to walk,” the petition read.

While the petition did not specify, it is likely to be about Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali — the trial judge who had heard and convicted former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the case of the misappropriation of RM42 million of government-owned SRC International Sdn Bhd’s funds — recently came under attack including by blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin.

The organisers of the petition are former Malaysian Bar presidents Datuk Mah Weng Kwai, Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari, Yeo Yang Poh, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, Datuk Lim Chee Wee and Steven Thiru.

Ambiga led a previous march for justice on September 26, 2007, in relation to prominent lawyer, VK Lingam’s alleged attempt to fix the appointment of senior judges.

She was then Malaysian Bar president and led some 1,000 lawyers who marched from the court complex in Putrajaya to the Prime Minister’s Office to demand that the government investigate accusations that the Lingam had attempted to influence the appointment of a judge to a top post.

She was then quoted in news reports saying: “We are walking for justice, we want judicial reform. Lawyers don’t walk every day. When lawyers walk, something is wrong.”

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