After dance criticism, Sarawak lawyers group to invite CJ, AG for ‘dance competition’

(MMO) – After the Attorney-General (AG) and the Chief Justice (CJ) were hit with criticisms for dancing at the Sabah Law Society’s (SLS) event, the Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) today said that it would host a dance competition for lawyers and members of the judiciary next year.

In a statement today, AAS president Ranbir Singh Sangha (pic) said that the competition will be held during the Opening of Legal Year (OLY) in Sarawak, and encouraged members of the legal fraternity to also join in and not feel upset with the “unwarranted and unsubstantiated” criticisms against dancing at such annual social events.

“The AAS will in fact invite the Chief Justice of Malaysia, the Attorney-General of Malaysia and judges in attendance to enter a dance competition with the advocates and other invited guests at the next Opening of Legal Year 2020 to be held in Sarawak.

“Those who criticise may not know about the morals and ethics that are culturally regarded highly in East Malaysia at such events,” Ranbir said, adding that such events are a hallmark of a mature legal fraternity.

He said that the gala dinner is a celebratory tradition for Sabah and Sarawak which also celebrates the achievements of the legal community, adding that mid-2018 and early 2019 saw several important legal reforms which were carried out for the well-being of Malaysians.

“We echo the views of the SLS president and refute any suggestion of impropriety as expressed by certain quarters, of the video of members of the legal fraternity dancing on stage at the Opening of The Legal Year 2019 in Kota Kinabalu and the gala dinner that followed later,” Ranbir added.

AG Tommy Thomas and CJ Tan Sri Richard Malanjum were criticised for dancing at the Opening of the Legal Year Gala Dinner 2019 in Kota Kinabalu, prompting accusations of fraternising and tarnishing the image of the judiciary.

The two were dancing to popular 60s rock ‘n roll tune Let’s Twist Again by Chubby Checker.

The video was also said to feature de facto Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong, and prominent lawyers and activists, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and Siti Kasim.

Several politicians from both sides of the political divide had chided the two men for allegedly tarnishing the image of impartiality and integrity of the judiciary by fraternising with other prominent lawyers and activists.

Earlier PKR member and senior lawyer Latheefa Koya today took Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad to task, after her party colleague compared the Sabah Law Society (SLS) event’s dinner and dance tradition to child marriage.

Nik Nazmi had in a series of tweets, expressed disagreement with the participation of Thomas and Malanjum in a dance during the annual event.

He compared the dance, which is a tradition at the event, to child marriage, adding that traditions are not static and need to change with the times.

The comparison also earned him the ire of Twitter users.

The SLS had also slammed critics of its gala dinner on Friday night, after Thomas and Malanjum received flak.

The organiser of the event said in a statement that the event was essentially a social and harmonious occasion reflective of its East Malaysian hospitality.