Ambiga dedicates UK doctorate to Baharuddin, PSM 6

By Clara Chooi, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 — Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan has dedicated her honorary law doctorate to the late Baharuddin Ahmad and the six Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) leaders now held under the Emergency Ordinance.

The Bersih 2.0 chairman also dedicated the award, conferred by her alma mater, the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, to the “brave people of Malaysia” whom she said had overcome “fear of intimidation and harassment” when they dared to march with her on July 9.

“The real heroes of that day are our friend and supporter Allahyarham Baharuddin Ahmad who paid the ultimate price in fighting a noble cause, the six members of the Socialist Party of Malaysia who, as we speak, sit in solitary confinement under preventive detention laws and finally the brave people of Malaysia who overcame their fear of intimidation and harassment to uphold their fundamental rights.

“With all my heart, I dedicate this honour you have bestowed upon me to them,” she said in her university acceptance speech received here today.

She touched briefly on the events of July 9 but did not lash out at the Najib administration, choosing instead to honour Bersih 2.0 supporters and advise graduating law students to use their knowledge to fight injustices.

“You have already heard of the events of July 9 in Malaysia. Whilst it brought out the worst in some, it brought out the best in others and this is where our hope lies,” she said.

The former Bar Council president has been the target of much criticism of late, with many anti-Bersih 2.0 parties calling for her head over the chaos that took place on July 9.

Even Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been generously doling out accusations against Ambiga and her Bersih 2.0 movement, claiming the rally was an attempt to oust him from government.

Ambiga, however, highlighted in her speech that not all of Najib’s men were happy with how the administration had clamped down on the rally.

“There were some in government who opposed the methods used to shut us down,” she said. “Even doctors left their comfort zones to speak up against injustices. And of course there were the lawyers and the independent media who stood on the side of truth and justice.”

Ambiga also spoke on the “rule of law”, saying that Malaysia’s democracy was still being held back by repressive laws, turning it into a country that practises “rule by law”.

She cited the example of preventive detention laws that “lock people away without affording them the basic right to a trial”, likely referring to the Emergency Ordinance and the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Ambiga told graduating students that in their quest to uphold the rule of law and pursuit of profit, they should also be reminded of their role to fight injustices.