Bar submits Bersih 3.0 report to Cabinet ministers
KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 — Despite recent criticism, the Malaysian Bar has pressed on with its recent resolution condemning the alleged acts of police violence during Bersih 3.0, and presented its views to two Cabinet ministers this week.
The Malaysian Insider understands that the Bar Council met with the two leaders to explain the resolution and their final report on the Bersih 3.0 April 28 rally, which details numerous witnessed incidents of police brutality and lists out recommendations on crowd control for future gatherings.
Council president Lim Chee Wee declined to reveal the names of the two ministers but told The Malaysian Insider that discussions with both individuals had gone well.
www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/bar–submits… – Cached
Saturday, 26 May 2012 07:45
Putrajaya will not win stand-off with Bar Council
Written by Joe Fernandez
De facto Law Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz, egged on by Mahathir, appears to be single-handedly taking on the legal profession in the country. He must have a death-wish like Mahathir.
Putrajaya will not win stand–off with Bar Council
It appears that the current Najib Administration has forgotten the bitter lessons learnt during Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s long innings in office when he, the frightened little man he was by default in office, openly and shamelessly rooted for extreme coercion as his preferred modus operandi.
Malaysia Chronicle – May 25 05:41pm
Proposal was on law academy, not second Bar, says Nazri
Last updated on 22 May 2012 – 11:57am
KUALA LUMPUR (May 21, 2012): Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has clarified his stand on the proposal to form a second Malaysian Bar.
“I am a minister of law, also a lawyer, don’t you think I don’t know that there is only one Bar?
“There is no second Bar proposal, I was referring to the one on the forming of the law academy,” Nazri told theSun in an exclusive interview yesterday.
Tuesday May 22, 2012 MYT 1:35:45 PM
Loyarburok responds to Roger Tan
Fallacies Spun by Critics of the Bar
This response is jointly endorsed by Edmund Bon, Fahri Azzat, Janet Chai, K Shanmuga,Mahaletchumy Balakrishnan, Marcus van Geyzel, Seira Sacha Abu Bakar, and Sharmila Sekaran.
The Bar Council and the Malaysian Bar (“the Bar”) have been criticised recently as being pro-Opposition. This is because of the Bar’s press statements and its Extraordinary General Meeting resolution regarding the police brutality shown at the Bersih 3.0 sit-down rally.
The common theme adopted by critics of the Bar is that the Bar was not fair, or even-handed, as the Bar were more critical of the police than it was of the other parties involved.
Some of the more popular criticisms were summarised in Roger Tan’s article “Unswayed by fear or favour” which was also published in The Sunday Star on 20 May 2012. In summary, he says the following:
thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/5/22/nation/… – Cac
Sunday May 20, 2012
Unswayed by fear or favour
By Roger Tan
As much as we do not like the judiciary to be perceived as pro-government, we also do not want the Bar to be perceived as pro-opposition.
ON May 11, the Malaysian Bar passed a motion containing 12 resolutions related to the April 28 Bersih 3.0 public assembly by an overwhelming majority. The decision of the House with 939 votes in favour and 16 against is to be respected. The argument that it is not representative of the 14,000-member Bar has no basis whatsoever as Section 66 of the Legal Profession Act, 1976 (LPA) is clear, that is, a motion is carried if a majority votes in favour of it.
With that above overriding principle, let me, however, put on record the reasons, whether rightly or wrongly, why I could not support the motion.
Free Malaysia Today
Dr M opens fire on the Bar
Mahathir defended the police at Bersish 3.0 as they had to stop what he called hooliganism, and attacked the bar Council. He suggested that at Bersih 4.0, lawyers should be given the job of keeping law and order.
www.freemalaysiatoday.com/…/12/dr–m–opens–fire–on–the–bar – Cached
Malaysian Bar’s EGM blasts police violence
7:25PM May 11, 2012
The Malaysian Bar today condemned the excessive, indiscriminate and wrongful use of tear gas and water cannons by the police on the Bersih 3.0 participants a fortnight ago and wants the government and police to issue a public apology.
Besides the apology, the Bar also called on the government to take steps in line with the Medellin Declaration to prevent crimes against media personnel, investigate and penalise such crimes and promote awareness and train Malaysian law enforcement officials.
“The Bar calls on the home minister and the inspector-general of police to issue a public apology to the public, media and lawyers who were assaulted or beaten by the police.
“We renew our call for the government to set up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as there is a need to have an independent body to monitor the police actions,” said Bar president Lim Chee Wee in the resolution.
A total of 1,270 members attended the extraordinary general meeting to condemn the police’s heavy-handed use of force on Bersih protesters and without giving them ample time to disperse.
A total of 939 voted for the resolution while 16 voted against.
Lim, who was flanked by his deputy Christopher Leong, secretary Tony Voon and treasurer Steven Thiru, also told the press that they felt not enough time was given by the police for the protesters to disperse.
Lim (left) said the police failed to adhere to international standards of crowd control adopted in the United States, Australia, Egypt and the Philippines.
“At some points, there were no police engaged to issue a warning or talking to the crowd to disperse, but had reacted to fire tear gas and water cannons,” he said.
Lim asked why the police deployed in Kuala Lumpur at that time could not act professionally like the police in Johor, Malacca, Ipoh and Kuantan, which handled the crowd in a proper manner.
He said he will forward the resolutions to the authorities and engage them in a dialogue.
Bar Council wants ‘engagement’ over Bersih 3.0, may hold lawyers’ march
KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 — The Bar Council announced today plans to “engage” with the authorities, including the prime minister, home minister and Inspector-General of Police (IGP), over its findings on Bersih 3.0 and added that it has not discounted holding public march.Its president, Lim Chee Wee, said that “at the minimum”, council leaders hope to hold discussions with the three parties and the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) over the Malaysian Bar’s resolution today condemning alleged acts of police aggression against Bersih 3.0 protesters.
“Engagement is important. We believe in engagement. To be fair to the IGP, we have had various engagements (with him). But on what has happened in KL… this has gone too far and we hope that he (IGP) will keep an open mind.
“At the minimum, we are seeking across-the-table (discussions),” he told reporters after the council’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) this evening.
“I am not discounting that possibility,” he added, when asked if the council would organise a lawyers’ walk over its Bersih 3.0 findings. “A member of the Bar suggested that (the walk) and the council has to make a decision on that.”
The Malaysian Bar had earlier approved a resolution condemning the police for using “excessive” and “indiscriminate” force to disperse Bersih 3.0 protesters on April 28, despite objections raised by a minority group of lawyers during today’s EGM.
The resolution, passed by way of voting this evening, also demands apologies from the home minister and the IGP to the public and members of the media over the conduct of the police during the rally.
According to Lim, only 16 of the 1,270 Malaysian Bar members in attendance today had opposed the resolution, which contained findings of alleged police brutality against protesters and members of the media.
A total of 939 votes were recorded in support of the resolution. There are some 14,000 members in the Malaysian Bar.
Lim also expressed “disappointment” that, to date, not one police personnel has been investigated for using excessive force during the April 28 rally for free and fair elections whereas several court charges have already been slapped against protesters,
“The IGP has to answer. We intend to ask him,” he said.
Today’s EGM was called to discuss the slew of issues surrounding the rally for free and fair elections, which saw chaos on the streets of the capital when police fired tear gas and chemical-laced water to disperse protesters.
According to a notice issued on the Malaysian Bar’s official website on May 4, the EGM was called to discuss a motion “in relation to the events of and surrounding the public rally on 28 April 2012 organised by Bersih 3.0, and matters in connection therewith”.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak recently labelled the demonstration as an attempt by certain quarters to overthrow the elected Barisan Nasional (BN) government, as he hardened his administration’s position towards the electoral reform movement.
Lim previously said that the Bar’s monitoring team had found more instances of police brutality compared to last year’s July 9 Bersih event.
He also said the authorities failed to take heed of criticism and recommendations outlined by Suhakam with regards to police conduct during Bersih’s first two rallies, and lamented on how “little has changed.”
Free Malaysia Today
Lawyers pour scorn on ‘stupid’ Bar
A vocal few criticise the Bar Council for not being apolitical and failing to take note of the violence perpetrated by the protesters during the Bersih 3.0 rally.
KUALA LUMPUR: Several lawyers have accused the Bar Council of supposedly siding with both Bersih and the opposition.
They argued that the Bar focused only on police brutality and failed to note the violence caused by protesters during the April 28 Bersih 3.0 rally.
Selangor Bar member Abdul Bakar Sidek attacked the Council, calling it a “political group” of the opposition.
“They come here [and] just want to pass a resolution. They just want to talk about police brutality but they never talk about public brutality towards the police!” he told reporters angrily.
This happened minutes after the Bar Council ended its extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on the Bersih 3.0 rally, where they passed a resolution condemning heavy-handed police action on that day.
Abdul Bakar asked why the resolution omitted instances of protester violence.
“I do not agree with police brutality but at the same time we do have to adhere that the police are also victims of the public and the stupid Bersih.
“…I am ashamed to be a member of the Bar, I wish I had an alternative [to the Bar]. I came just to say, ‘Why you need to gather by the roadside like a pariah?’”
“…I wish the government can give us an alternative [to the Bar, because] a lot of my friends do not want to be a member of this stupid Bar!” he shouted.
While he was speaking to reporters, a few lawyers taunted Abdul Bakar, chanting, “Bersih 4!”
In response to this, he said: “You see? Is this a forum of professionals? They want a Bersih 4.0, [but] they are just a bunch of idiots!”
Abdul Bakar later claimed that he had a younger sister, who in her capacity as a policewoman, was attacked by protesters that day.
He also blamed Bersih co-chairperson S Ambiga of shoring up publicity in a bid to “create havoc.”
Of the 1,270 Bar members who attended today’s EGM, 939 voted in favour of today’s resolution, while 16 voted against.
The rest either left the venue before the event ended or did not take part in the vote.
Failed to be apolitical
Fellow detractor Noordin Yusoff said that some lawyers booed at Abdul Bakar when he presented his views.
“They were angry with him and booing him down for giving his views. Contrary to what the others feel, it’s his right [to give these views],” he said.
He added that the Bar Council failed to be apolitical as it did not take protester provocation into account.
“Yes, they are talking about police brutality but they didn’t talk about them provoking the police for hours. The Bar Council should be apolitical and not a political party. Don’t take sides [with] Ambiga,” he said.
Though less vocal than the other two, Kedah lawyer Tan Keng Liang said he was unhappy with the Bar Council’s focus today.
Tan, who is also Kedah Gerakan Youth chief, said the Council did not include certain parties affected during the rally, such as traders, taxi drivers and other businesses.
“These are things that the Bar has to consider but was not in the motion, so I was unable to vote for it… I don’t agree to [the resolution as] it doesn’t show the assault done by Bersih participants on the police [when] in fact I saw footage of reporters attacked by [these participants],” he said.
He added that previous Bar Council EGMs had unanimous voting decisions, a case that was not repeated this time around.
Bar Council to boycott panel, wants UN rapporteur instead
8:02PM May 11, 2012
The Bar Council will not participate in the independent panel formed by the government to probe last month’s violence at the Bersih 3.0 rally.
The powerful body representing 14,000 lawyers nationwide wants a United Nations special rapporteur to head the independent panel instead of former inspector-general of police Mohd Hanif Omar.
“Otherwise, the Bar Council will not participate in it,” said council chairperson Lim Chee Wee (right) at a press conference following an extraordinary general meeting of the Bar, called to discuss the police crackdown on the mammoth Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28.
“The Bar prefers a UN special rapporteur to oversee the running of the panel and if this is complied with, then the Bar Council will reconsider its participation.”
He said the independent panel formed lacks any legal framework as it is ordinarily found in a royal commission of inquiry or the Malaysian Human Rights Commission of Inquiry (Suhakam).
“It does not have such features as legal immunity for itself or any participating persons involved in the proceeding. By immunity I mean immunity against defamation,” he said.
“Secondly it lacks the legal power to call or subpoena witnesses or call for the production of documents. Under these constraints these panel has limited utility.”
A total of 1,270 members attended the EGM to condemn the police’s heavy-handed use of force on Bersih protesters and without giving them ample time to disperse.
A total of 939 voted for the resolution while 16 voted against.
Lim also pointed out that the existing panel does not have any legal standing as it has no powers to summon witnesses to testify before the panel, unlike a royal commission of inquiry.
He said Hanif had also made adverse comments on the Bersih 3.0 rally, describing some of the protesters as communists seeking to overthrow the government.
According to Lim, it was not proper for the government to appoint Hanif to chair the panel as he had espoused such biased views.
“We do not even think Hanif is appropriate to chair the panel we think the most appropriate person to chair it would be the retired Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Steve Shim,” said the Bar Council president.
On Sunday, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression Frank La Rue offered to be part of the independent panel.
Bar Council’s final report on Bersih 3.0: APOLOGIZE AND PAY COMPENSATION
Written by Bar Council
Motion in relation to the events of and surrounding the BERSIH 3.0 public assembly on 28 April 2012, and matters in connection therewith, proposed by Lim Chee Wee (Chairman, Bar Council), on behalf of the Bar Council, dated 4 May 2012
(A) A public assembly was called for and organised by BERSIH 2.0, a coalition of 84 NGOs, on 28 April 2012 for electoral reforms. The public assembly was commonly known was BERSIH 3.0;
(B) Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur refused to allow the assembly at Dataran Merdeka, as chosen by the organisers, and insisted on the use of alternative venues;
(C) Despite the Minister of Home Affairs having twice asserted that the BERSIH 3.0 assembly was not a security threat, the police obtained an ex parte order from the Magistrates’ Court on the evening of 26 April 2012 restraining Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan, the organisers of the BERSIH assembly and members of the public from gathering at Dataran Merdeka;
(D) The police announced, after obtaining the court order, that participants were permitted to gather at various points in Kuala Lumpur, except Dataran Merdeka;
(E) It has been reported by various news agencies that there were between approximately 30,000 to 250,000 people gathered for the assembly in Kuala Lumpur on 28 April 2012. The Malaysian Bar monitoring team estimated the crowd to be at least 100,000 people;
(F) The crowd that gathered that day reflected a broad cross-section of Malaysian society, and was peaceful;
(G) There were police barriers set up at every point/road leading to Dataran Merdeka, most of which consisted of metal gates, water-filled dividers and razor wire;
(H) There was massive police presence: approximately 14,000 personnel were reportedly deployed (including personnel from the Federal Reserve Unit) together with water cannons. It was observed that a substantial number of police personnel did not display their police identification numbers on their uniforms;
(I) At approximately 2:35 pm the organisers of the assembly, through its Co-Chairperson Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan, announced that the assembly had concluded and requested that the crowd disperse;
(J) The police were initially restrained. However, this changed at approximately 3:00 pm, when there was a breach of the perimeter barriers set up at the junction of Jalan Tun Perak and Jalan Raja;
(K) The police then responded by unleashing water cannon and firing successive volleys of tear gas directly into the crowd gathered at that junction, and along Jalan Tun Perak, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and Jalan Raja Laut. Similar police action was reported at other points where crowds had gathered;
(L) The Malaysian Bar’s monitoring teams reported witnessing the use of heavy-handed tactics by the police, including the indiscriminate discharging of multiple rounds of tear gas directly into the crowds, without any obvious provocation, and the arbitrary use of water cannons;
(M) The police also directed their use of water cannon and firing of tear gas to box in participants rather than allowing them to disperse quickly. As participants retreated, the police should have re-established their barriers and given sufficient time to the crowd to disperse in an orderly and safe manner, instead of chasing participants and persistently shooting water cannon and firing tear gas on them. It appeared that the purpose of the police was not to disperse, but to attack, the crowd;
(N) Random, widespread and wanton physical assault and brutality by the police on members of the public and media professionals have been reported. It has further been reported that there was confiscation and/or destruction of photographs and video recordings made by members of the public and media professionals, and damage caused to their recording equipment;
(O) There were unwarranted arrests of members of the public and media professionals. The police also arrested Members of the Bar who had participated in the public assembly. Whilst in the care and custody of the police, at least three of these Members were physically assaulted and beaten, and suffered serious injuries;
(P) In response to the use of force by the police, sections of the crowd resorted to retaliatory acts, including the throwing of stones and bottles. The police responded like for like. These skirmishes between the police and sections of the crowd carried on until approximately 7:00 pm;
(Q) The police have failed to display the maturity, discipline and restraint required of a professional force. Instead of acting to calm the situation, they aggravated it and contributed to its escalation;
(R) It has been reported that the organisers of the BERSIH 3.0 assembly had not made sufficient efforts to manage the crowds or to resolve the impasse between the police and the crowds;
(S) It has been reported that between 388 and 513 persons were arrested and taken to Pusat Latihan Polis (“PULAPOL”), Jalan Semarak, Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysian Bar’s urgent arrest team, comprising members of the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre (Kuala Lumpur) and volunteer lawyers, were present at PULAPOL to assist and represent the arrested persons. However, the police refused to allow them access to the arrested persons despite repeated requests by both the lawyers present and the arrested persons. This denial of access to legal representation is a violation of Article 5 of the Federal Constitution and section 28A of the Criminal Procedure Code;
(T) The right of every citizen to freedom of speech and expression, and to assemble peaceably, is enshrined in Article 10 of the Federal Constitution as well as Articles 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
(U) The right of every person to life and liberty, including the right not to be assaulted or harmed, is enshrined in Article 5 of the Federal Constitution as well as Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and
(V) The Malaysian Government, as a member of UNESCO, is aware of the Medellin Declaration on Securing the Safety of Journalists and Combating Impunity, adopted at the UNESCO Conference on Press Freedom, Safety of Journalists and Impunity on World Press Freedom Day 2007;
Now it is hereby resolved that:
(1) The Malaysian Bar views with grave concern, and condemns:
(a) the excessive, indiscriminate and wrongful use of water cannons and tear gas by the police on participants of the assembly;
(b) the action of the police in not allowing the crowd sufficient time to disperse in an orderly and safe manner, and instead chasing the participants and attacking them by persistently shooting water cannon and tear gas on them;
(c) the tactics of the police in trapping and attacking the participants with water cannon and tear gas instead of permitting them to disperse;
(d) the random, widespread and wanton physical assault and brutality by the police on members of the public and media professionals;
(e) the unwarranted arrests of members of the public, media professionals and Members of the Bar, and the physical assault and beating of at least three arrested Members;
(f) the unjustifiable and unlawful confiscation and/or destruction of photographs and video recordings made by members of the public and media professionals, and damage caused to their recording equipment; and
(g) the lack of discipline and professionalism of the police;
(2) The Malaysian Bar calls for the police to identify their personnel involved in the misconduct and unlawful acts and surrender all the wrongdoers, in particular those who assaulted members of the public, media professionals and lawyers, for prosecution;
(3) The Malaysian Bar renews our call on the Government to give effect to the recommendation of the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police to set up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission recommended therein, without further delay;
(4) The Malaysian Bar calls for the Minister of Home Affairs and the Inspector General of Police to issue a public apology for the actions and conduct of the police, including the excessive, indiscriminate and wrongful use of water cannons and tear gas;
(5) The Malaysian Bar calls for the Minister of Home Affairs and the Inspector General of Police to issue a public apology to members of the public, media professionals and lawyers who were assaulted or beaten by the police;
(6) The Malaysian Bar calls for the setting up of an independent commission to recommend and formulate proper guidelines or operating procedures governing conduct of police in the control and management of public assemblies, and the use of non-lethal and lethal weapons, which would be in accordance with internationally-accepted standards, in particular the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (adopted by United Nations General Assembly resolution 34/169 of 17 December 1979) and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials 1990;
(7) The Malaysian Bar calls on the Government to pay just and proper compensation to members of the public, media professionals and lawyers who were assaulted;
(8) The Malaysian Bar condemns the police for denying lawyers access to arrested persons and calls upon the police to abide by and give effect to Article 5 of the Federal Constitution and section 28A of the Criminal Procedure Code;
(9) The Bar Council will look into how it can assist those denied their constitutional rights and those who were assaulted to pursue claims against the relevant parties for just and proper compensation;
(10) The Malaysian Bar calls on the Government, in line with the Medellin Declaration, to:
(a) prevent crimes against media professionals, investigate and penalise such crimes, provide witness protection for those testifying about them and ensure that the perpetrators do not go unpunished;
(b) promote awareness and train Malaysian law enforcement agencies to respect and promote the safety of media professionals, and ensure that they are able to work in full security and independence; and
(c) take resolute action for the safety of media professionals and ensure respect for their professional independence;
(11) The Malaysian Bar calls on Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur to uphold freedom of assembly and the right of all to utilise Dataran Merdeka for public assemblies; and
(12) The Malaysian Bar reaffirms the right of individuals to participate in public assemblies. Such right must however be exercised in a peaceful and responsible manner. The Malaysian Bar reminds organisers of public assemblies of their responsibility to take all reasonable action to ensure a peaceful assembly.
The above Final Report is due to be discussed at Bar’s EGM slated for Friday, 11th May 2012 at 3pm