Walk to Justice

  • By AdminL
  • September 28, 2007
  • Comments Off on Walk to Justice

contributed by Desmond Ho

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The Malacca Bar was represented by about 20 members for the historic march that was triggered off by the VK Lingam video clip fiasco. Many were not happy with our Chief Justice, Tan Sri Ahmad Fairuz’s “no comments” and denial through Nazri. Therefore, the few that took up the challenge to travel to Putrajaya met at the Bar Committee office first before leaving together for Putrajaya.

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We reached Putrajaya in time but the first 3 entry points to Precinct 3 Putrajaya were blocked by the police. No explanation offered. We were getting agitated in the van and wanted to confront them. Vehicles were randomly allowed or denied access to the roads. We managed to get through the third entry point (possibly because our van only had a Manipal car sticker and not a Bar one?) where else the other two cars were not that successful. The behavior of the police puzzled us. What are they trying to do?

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When we finally reached the Palace of Justice, we found out that we were all still waiting for a number of buses that were denied entry and the passengers all had to walk 5-6km to the Palace of Justice. When they arrived, applause was offered and immediately slogans were chanted.

“Who are we? Malaysian Bar!”

“What do we want? Justice!”

“Siasat! Siasat! All the way!”

“What do we want? Change! Change! Change!”

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Despite the presence of the FRU and police on the roads and at the entrance of the Courts, our President of the Malaysian Bar, Ambiga Sreenevasan then spoke from a hailer to the crowd that had gathered at the staircase of the Palace of Justice (the symbol of justice for our country – the irony of it)

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“I am overwhelmed by the members of the Bar. I had faith that you would all rise when it counted … Yesterday the government announced the setting up of an independent panel, I welcome this because I think it is a positive move in the right direction. That they have recognized that there is a problem. And we are fair, if we think there is a positive response, we must support it…. Of course we feel that a Royal Commission of Enquiry is a better option and that is what our Memorandum is going to say … So what are we doing here today? … We are not walking for a video clip, we are walking for justice, we are walking because we want judicial reform.

Lawyers don’t walk everyday, they don’t walk every month, they don’t even walk every year. This is the third time lawyers are walking. When lawyers walk, something is wrong. When lawyers walk it means that we would like to see something change! We want a peaceful walk. We will walk peacefully..We just want to make our point quietly but firmly but we will do it with dignity.

I hope that this walk will not be like Mandela’s long walk to freedom, that our walk to justice will not be a long walk to justice …”

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Approximately 2,000 walked the walk to the Prime Minister’s office wary of people who were not “with us” busily taking our photographs and video recording the whole walk. We were not bothered and we were in good spirits. The sheer number of us all in our court attire, black and white made us look like a scene from the March of the Penguins. It was hot and we marched on. It was the fasting month, and our Muslim members of the Bar marched for justice.

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The FRU rounded up their vehicles from the Palace of Justice and positioned themselves at the Prime Minister’s Office which was about 2km away, as the bemused marching crowd went on their  way peacefully. Our representatives were allowed in through the FRU barricade and the Bar members rallied together and shouted more slogans. It started to drizzle, then it rained and finally it poured. But a handful of bar members stood one, some with umbrellas, some seeking refuge under banners that they carried, some just stood there in the rain spurred on by the rallying cries for justice and accountability. Amusingly this slogan found its way to our repertoire, as we chanted

Ya! Ya! Ya!  Correct! Correct! Correct!

After waiting for quite some time, our representatives emerged from the Prime Minister’s Office and we were informed that the political secretary to the PM accepted our Memorandums. We were drenched wet in our court attire but we stood our ground. We will not rest till this matter is resolved and an EGM will be held soon next week on the 6th October 2007.

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