Silence gives consent?


Silence gives consent?

Silence gives consent?

Friday, May 25, 2012
  • Bar Council Malaysia
Do all members of the Bar Council agree with its silence on the appointment of a former prosecutor in the Sodomy II trial to Anwar's defence team? (Photo by Hussein Shaharuddin/The Mole)

KUALA LUMPUR: A blogger who previously criticised the Malaysian Bar Council for its report on the recent Bersih 3.0 rally has fired another salvo, criticising the Bar Council for remaining silent on the issue of Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden’s legal representation of Anwar Ibrahim.


The blogger who calls himself John F Seademon had slammed the Bar Council in his two previous posts, entitled Funny Association of Bar Owners and Funny Association of Bar Owners Part Two. In those posts, he took aim at Bar Council members’ opposition to the Peaceful Assembly Act and the body’s omissions in its report on the Bersih 3.0 rally, respectively.


Now the blogger has come out with Part Three of the series, taking the Bar Council to task over the inclusion of Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden – who was the lead prosecutor in the Sodomy II case – on Anwar’s defence team now that the latter has been charged over his involvement in the Bersih 3.0 rally.


“This is in particular of interest to me as Mohd Yusof Zainal Abidin was privy to the evidences and information made available to the Attorney-General’s office,” the blogger wrote on May 24. 


“That case is now in its appeal stage and is far from over, making the move by Yusof to join Anwar’s defence team, in my opinion, nothing short of being malum in se,” he said, using a legal term that means “wrong or evil in itself”.


“The Government (Attorney-General’s Office) should have an ethical standard barring former staff who have had access to sensitive law enforcement and intelligence information from moving into private practice dealing with clients who can benefit directly from the information,” he said, giving the example of Michael Abell, an American lawyer who switched from working for the US Department of Justice to defending drug barons.


“A lack of ethical standard set by the US Justice Department (and in this case, the Malaysian Attorney-General’s Office) squanders public trust when it allows this to happen,” Seademon said.


The blogger said it is interesting that the Bar Council has so far been silent on the matter.


“An injustice towards the Government seems to be okay from a body that is supposed to uphold the law without fear or favour,” he said.


“How can one not say that the Bar Council is partisan?  Every action it does seems to favour only one side of the political fence,” he continued.


The blogger said he now has doubts about the professional integrity of the Bar Council, and urged members to speak up and take action on this issue.