Rohaizat’s offence a personal misconduct, Ragunath says

Written by Regina William, The Edge

The offence for which Permatang Pasir Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Rohaizat Othman was struck off the Malaysia Bar Council's list involves the individual lawyer.

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Bar Council president Ragunath Kesavan told The Edge Malaysia that the proceedings under Section 103D of the Legal Profession Act 1976 involved misconduct of the individual lawyer.

"The offence was for personal liability and does not involve any other persons as Rohaizat was named by the complainant, and not his partner.

"Rohaizat was disbarred on March 7 last year and he appealed against the Bar Council decision to the High Court, which also dismissed his appeal on Aug 12 this year," he added.

Ragunath said the offence committed by Rohaizat involved stakeholders' money from Koperasi Pekebun Getah and there was no account for it.

"When the board looked into this matter and the order was made, there was no reimbursement to the stakeholders involving the sum of RM140,000.

"Even if you pay, the offence has been committed and it is a serious offence as this involves dealing with client's money.

"If you are an innocent party, you would not be found guilty by the disciplinary committee and the charge leveled under Section 103D is tantamount to criminal misconduct," he added.

Ragunath said the other partners only would be penalised if it involved negligence of the law firm concerned, but the offence committed under Section 103D was for personal misconduct.

On Sunday, Penang Umno chief Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told a press conference that it was Rohaizat's partner who was involved in the scandal which resulted in Rohaizat being struck off.

Meanwhile at the nomination centre, when asked whether Rohaizat's credibility would come into question following the revelation of him being disbarred, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said: "There is no controversy with regards to his candidacy as we have done our homework.

"As far as the law is concerned, he has been declared eligible to contest and we believe the voters will understand when we explain to them what actually happened.

"We have our ways of explaining to the voters, the opposition can do whatever character assassinations they want.

"We will expose all their lies and the rakyat can judge for themselves," he added.