Bar Council a toothless tiger?
Ambiga Sreenevasan, I watched a video taped at your EGM and my take on that video is basically, (i) this proves that lawyers can speak well, (ii) lawyers are very calm, and (iii) the Bar Council is against the ISA.
The rakyat appreciates the Bar’s stand on the issue of ISA but the manner in which you deal with it leaves a lot to be said about the effectiveness of the Bar.
Your vague statements decrying the ISA beg the question, “So what?” We can all talk till the cows come home but remember, this is Umno we are addressing. The party with the likes of Syed Hamid Albar, Khir Toyo and Bung Mokhtar in their ranks. Do you really think they care about your well constructed sentences and finely choreographed video statements?
Remember, Albar is the lawyer who said that ISA can be used for one’s own safety. For Umno, your statements just go in one ear and go out the other with bursts of laughter in between.
In your video, you invited other members of the Bar to speak but all they did was repeat what you had already said. You also stated that you have been fighting the ISA for “ever since you can remember”.
For your information, numerous people have been doing this, especially members of PKR, so if Umno has not heard them, don’t you think we should look for another avenue with which to speak out?
Well, let me tell you that if you continue with your present modus operandi of fighting the ISA, the next generation of Bar Council members will probably give the exact same speech as you did. The Bar has to have a definite plan to repeal the ISA with follow-up actions that would hurt Umno.
The Bar falls terribly short in this area. For example, when you gave suggestions on how to keep the pressure up, you mentioned Suhakam’s draft legislation and the public’s role. As for the lawyers, you merely stated that you must look at how you can push for a repeal of the ISA in Parliament.
The time has come to move on with drastic plans and not still look for measures to repeal the ISA. People like Lim Kit Siang, Karpal Singh, RPK, Hindraf and so many others have risked their careers and lives taking action as they know that there is no safe way out of this. The Bar Council’s safe route will not get us anywhere with Umno.
I am not a lawyer and so I do not know how far the Bar can actually go but I’m sure you can do much more than talk. You have to think ‘out of the box’ in coming up with ideas. What about a boycott of all courts by members of the Bar?
How long can Umno go on if there’s a total boycott of all courts in Malaysia? The worldwide legal fraternity will come to know of it overnight and the pressure on Umno will be enormous. This is ‘thinking out of the box’. If this is an absurd suggestion, think of something else but along these lines.
Hindraf took us to greater heights in such a short time not because they merely held nice press conferences. They took action by thinking out of the box and even taking legal action against the British government. We all know that nothing monetary will come out of that legal action but the media mileage for that one action alone was way higher than anything the Bar Council has done in 20 years.
You stated that ISA is likened to “state terrorism”. Well done, but why leave it there? Can’t the Bar Council take the Malaysian government to the International Court on this issue of state terrorism? You cannot fight Umno and try to abolish ISA by playing safe. If you go about it in this manner, when ISA is eventually abolished, the Bar would be seen as a party that played an extremely minor role in its abolishment.
Towards the end of your video, you asked the pertinent question, “What are we going to do from here on?” Your reply fell way short of expectations. You said, “Well, we are going to do whatever we can.” Unfortunately, this sums up your entire video conference. Nice words but nothing new said.
The public is now willing to openly support opposing views. So take this opportunity and go to the fullest before Umno openly evolves into The Third Reich and clamps down on every dissenting view.
Umno has just showed the Bar Council and you what they think of all your talk about the injustices to RPK, they sent him to Kamunting.