Allegedly “Blocked from the Bar” Because of Zakir Naik

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Law graduate Asiah Abd Jalil claims action was taken to stop her being admitted as a lawyer because she had been part of a civil suit against preacher Zakir Naik’s PR status.

A law graduate says she has been blocked from being admitted to the Malaysia Bar because of her opposition to Indian Muslim preacher Zakir Naik being granted permanent residence in Malaysia.

The graduate, Asiah Abd Jalil, accused her master of having refused to sign her papers for admittance, and of filing a caveat against her scheduled appearance at the High Court for her admittance.

When contacted by FMT, her master, Kuantan-based lawyer Muhammad Aznel Azaharudin, declined to comment on the matter, pending mention of the caveat case on July 27.

Asiah told FMT that she had been denied her right to be called to the Bar for more than a year.

She said she was due to be called to the Bar yesterday after no objections were raised by the Bar Council and the Attorney-General’s Chambers. But the proceedings were postponed after the caveat was filed against her. She is challenging the caveat.

Asiah said she had graduated from UiTM and completed her nine-month pupillage in February 2017.

(Law graduates serve their pupillage in the chambers of a practising lawyer, who is regarded as their master, before they submit papers for being admitted to the Bar and becoming qualified to practise.)

In March 2017, after her pupillage ended, she and 17 other Malaysian citizens took part in a civil suit against the government to challenge Naik’s permanent resident status. The suit was brought by Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy (now minister for national unity).

She said she had taken part in the suit on her own accord because she did not agree with Naik’s style of preaching, which she felt to be unsuitable in Malaysia’s multicultural society.

A day after news of the civil suit was widely reported, Asiah alleged that Aznel expressed his anger and demanded that she recuse herself from the case.

“Aznel said my actions hurt him and the majority of Muslims in the country and that the accusations against Naik were too much.” 

She said he told her that he would not endorse her Long Call paper (part of the final procedure before admittance) unless she called a press conference and apologised to Naik.

“This effectively denied me my right to be called to the Bar,” she said.