Cops stop lawyers from marching to Parliament

Noel Achariam

Police forming a barrier preventing some 300 lawyers from marching to Parliament from Padang Merbok. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Nazir Sufari, June 17, 2022.

POLICE stopped some 300 lawyers from marching to Parliament from Padang Merbok to present a memorandum to Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on upholding the independence of the courts.

The lawyers gathered as early as 9am for the Walk For Judicial Independence, with several carrying placards that read “Jom Jalan Judicial Independence”, “Walk the talk, Judicial Independence” and others.

However, before they could begin, police stepped in.

Earlier, former Malaysian Bar president Ambiga Sreenevasan said the judiciary must be free and allowed to do its duty to uphold its independence.

“It’s very simple. We don’t want anyone to weaken the judiciary.

“We want to send a message. We can see that people are trying to undermine the judiciary. Stop it. We are not going to keep quiet.”

She said the walk is legal as the Bar had sent out the notices and police were informed.

“Freedom of assembly is a constitutional right,” Ambiga added.

Members of the Federal Reserve Unit on standby during the Walk For Judicial Independence today. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Nazir Sufari, June 17, 2022.

Commonwealth Lawyers Association (Australasia) vice-president Steven Thiru said they take the independence of judiciary very seriously.

“We received representation from the Malaysian Bar on what is happening here.

“The independence of the judiciary is something that can never be compromised in a country that believes in the rule of law.”

Thiru said the association has expressed its support and solidarity with the Bar.

“They (Malaysian Bar) are not standing alone, they are supported by the international community.”

The Malaysian Bar insists that today’s Walk For Judicial Independence is legal as it had sent out notices and informed police. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Nazir Sufari, June 17, 2022.

Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat in April said criticism towards judges and the judiciary has gone overboard.

While judges are open to criticism, especially concerning high profile cases, the recent attacks are too much, she added.

“The judiciary has been dealing with high profile and public interest cases of late.

“It is normal for judges to receive criticism from parties who are unhappy with the decisions of the courts.

“However, the criticism levelled at judges and the judiciary, in my opinion, has gone overboard.”

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission opened an investigation into Court of Appeal judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali over alleged unexplained money in his bank account.

Nazlan was the judge who convicted former prime minister Najib Razak over the misappropriation of RM42 million of SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.

The Malaysia Today blog claimed that the judge is being investigated for an “unexplained” RM1 million in his bank account. – June 17, 2022.

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