Sunday, April 21

Bar must respond by June 14 to lawyer’s suit over EGM


KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Bar has to respond by June 14 to a suit filed by a lawyer challenging a notice to call for its extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on May 11.

High Court Judge Datuk John Louis O’Hara also set June 13 for the next case management after meeting the parties yesterday in chambers.

On May 16, Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz filed the suit, naming the Bar, Bar Council, its president Lim Chee Wee and its secretary Tony Woon Yeow Thong as defendants and sought a declaration to deem the notice dated May 4 to call for the EGM null and void and not in accordance with the Legal Profession Act 1976.

Counsel Tan Sri Dr Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman and Shaharudin Ali represented the plaintiff and counsel Idza Hajar Ahmad Idzam acted for the defendants.

Shaharudin told reporters the Malaysian Bar had to file its statement of defence by June 14 and the plaintiff had to respond by June 21.

Shaharudin also said that the defendants’ counsel had informed the court that the three defendants — the Bar Council, Lim and Woon — were planning to strike out the suit.

He also said that the parties would narrow the issue to one question — on whether the notice to call for the EGM was null and void and not in accordance with the Legal Profession Act 1976.

In the statement of claim, Mohd Khairul Azam, who is a member of the Malaysian Bar and also the Bar Council, alleged that the notice calling for the EGM was issued less than seven days before May 11, adding that members were also not properly notified.

He claimed that Woon had issued the notice for the EGM on May 4, without stating if the Bar Council had decided at their meeting earlier that a decision was reached to hold the EGM.

He contended that the motion discussed at the EGM had contravened the Sedition Act 1948 as it had discussed matters which were outside the jurisdiction of laws governing the defendants.

Mohd Khairul Azam claimed that members of the Bar were prejudiced by the motion and that its 14,189 members were in a scandal that was being openly discussed by the public, adding that their professionalism was being mocked.

The EGM had voted 939-16 in passing the motion that the inspector-general of police and the home ministry should apologise for the alleged excessive use of force by police against protesters and journalists during the April 28 Bersih 3.0 rally. — Bernama