Ambiga urges lawyers to ‘walk for justice’ at Padang Merbok on June 17

(The Star) – The planned “Walk for the Independence of the Judiciary” will be happening this Friday (June 17) in Kuala Lumpur.

In a tweet on Monday (June 13) former Malaysian Bar president Ambiga Sreenevasan urged all lawyers to attend the event.

“Calling all lawyers! Get ready for one of the most important walks of your career.

“The Walk for the Independence of the Judiciary this Friday 17th June at 10am, Padang Merbok! Retweet please!” she tweeted.

A statement sighted on the Malaysian Bar website also stated that the Chief Registrar of the Federal Court of Malaysia had informed them that Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat had no objection to Members of the Bar applying for adjournment of their cases on June 17 in order to join the walk.

“Members however must apply to the relevant courts to seek adjournment of court matters fixed on that date.

“Members planning to join are also advised to apply early for adjournment of court matters,” said Malaysian Bar secretary Anand Raj.

On May 4, a petition by six former Malaysian Bar presidents – Datuk Mah Weng Kwai, Steven Thiru, Datuk Lim Chee Wee, Datuk Yeo Yang Poh, Ambiga Sreenevasan and Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari – had urged the Bar Council to hold a “walk of justice”.

The protest was meant to defend the institution of the judiciary against alleged intimidation.

In the petition, they said certain quarters in recent events had shown total disregard for the independence of the judiciary, and there had been several occasions of alleged intimidation.

“It is time for the Bar to once again rise and fearlessly defend the institution of the judiciary. It is time to walk.

“We, undersigned members of the Bar, urged the Bar Council to organise a walk urgently to send a clear message to those that seek to interfere with the judiciary that this interference cannot be countenanced as it is a blatant violation of the rule of law,” they said.

Allegations of judicial intimidation and interference came following divided opinions regarding the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigations into Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

MACC’s investigations came following reports lodged over claims by rogue blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, alleging that there were funds transferred to Nazlan’s account during his time as the group general counsel and company secretary of Maybank.

MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki had said the probe was launched due to a report lodged against the matter.

Nazlan was the judge who convicted former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak over the misappropriation of RM42mil in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.

Nazlan lodged a police report against Raja Petra on April 21, denying the accusations which he said were malicious, baseless and aimed at tarnishing his credibility as a judge.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, in her speech at a swearing-in ceremony of newly-appointed High Court judges last Thursday (April 28), said the recent public disapproval against high profile cases had “gone overboard”.