Mas Ermieyati accepts memo, lawyers call off march

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Deputy law minister Mas Ermieyati Samsudin has apologised to lawyers gathered at Padang Merbok for the “inconvenience” over the Malaysian Bar’s “Walk for judicial independence”.

Bar president Karen Cheah, who shared a hug with Mas Ermieyati upon her arrival at Padang Merbok, hoped that the memorandum would be submitted to Ismail as soon as possible.

“We want to thank each and every one of you for coming. We are going to disperse now,” Cheah told the crowd, estimated at more than 500, gathered there.

Earlier, addressing the lawyers and their supporters, Mas Ermieyati said Cheah was an old friend of hers, and thanked them for cooperating with the authorities.

“I apologise for the inconvenience. I will explain the memorandum to the prime minister and the law minister,” she said.

“May justice and (the independence of) our judiciary continue to be upheld.”

Bar Council secretary Anand Raj said the memorandum called on Putrajaya to uphold judicial independence and to make the law clearer on this matter, if necessary.

Earlier, negotiations with the police broke down after they only wanted to allow 20 lawyers to march to the Parliament building to hand over the memorandum, which the Bar rejected.

The lawyers tried to go ahead with the march but failed to break through the police barricade formed at both ends of the Padang Merbok car park.

The Bar’s “Walk for judicial independence” was organised to voice its dissatisfaction over “intimidation” towards the judiciary, particularly over the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigation into Court of Appeal judge Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

The investigation was initiated following a report about an unexplained sum of more than RM1 million in his bank account. The investigation papers have been submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) for further action.

The Bar had said constitutional procedures should be followed in the probe, contending that the Federal Constitution provides for complaints about alleged judicial misconduct to be handled in a manner that ensures continued public confidence in the judiciary.

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