Judiciary not jeopardised by gala dancing video.
The Malaysian Bar has come to the defence of the judiciary members involved in last Friday’s Opening of the Legal Year gala night, describing their onstage dancing as “warm camaraderie” between the judiciary, the attorney general’s chambers and lawyers.
Malaysian Bar president George Varughese said that they were astounded by the outlandish reaction and baseless criticisms levelled by certain quarters over a video clip showing top judges, the attorney general (AG) and lawyers sharing the dance stage during the gala dinner.
“Social gatherings and events involving various or all stakeholders in the administration of justice, where the participants interact in an informal setting, are far from new, and have been commonplace occasions for numerous years,” he said in a statement.
“The warm camaraderie between members of the judiciary, the attorney general’s chambers and the Bar does not in any way jeopardise the integrity and impartiality of the administration of justice. The judiciary remains wholly independent in carrying out its role of dispensing justice and is not compromised as a result of such social events,” he said.
He also said that calls for the resignations of the Chief Justice (CJ) Tan Sri Richard Malajum and the AG Tommy Thomas and for the CJ to be referred to a tribunal for alleged misconduct, were erroneous, misplaced and unwarranted.
“The Malaysian Bar condemns all attempts to politicise this innocuous social event,” he said.
A video clip of Malanjum, Thomas, Law minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong, along with lawyers Siti Kasim and Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan dancing onstage at a function organised by the Sabah Law Society in conjunction with the Opening of the Legal Year 2019 in Kota Kinabalu has drawn flak.
Several politicians from both sides of the political divide had chided the men for allegedly tarnishing the image of impartiality and integrity of the judiciary by fraternising with other prominent lawyers and activists.
Others have also defended their actions, claiming that socialising was the norm and did not impact their professionalism.
The latest was legal expert and Malay Consultative Council (MPM) advisory board member Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman who said that such an incident was not indicative of a failure in the system nor did it warrant politicising.
“It’s a social gathering. When I was a magistrate and deputy public prosecutor before I also attended such events. If there played the ‘joget’, I would dance the ‘joget’ because I respect the camaraderie in the judiciary,” he was quoted saying in a Berita Harian report. – MMO
Earlier report: Jan 19, Much Ado About Judiciary Bigwigs Dancing at Legal Gala