A vocal few criticise the Bar Council for not being apolitical and failing to take note of the violence perpetrated by the protesters during the Bersih 3.0 rally.
They argued that the Bar focused only on police brutality and failed to note the violence caused by protesters during the April 28 Bersih 3.0 rally.
Selangor Bar member Abdul Bakar Sidek attacked the Council, calling it a “political group” of the opposition.
“They come here [and] just want to pass a resolution. They just want to talk about police brutality but they never talk about public brutality towards the police!” he told reporters angrily.
This happened minutes after the Bar Council ended its extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on the Bersih 3.0 rally, where they passed a resolution condemning heavy-handed police action on that day.
Abdul Bakar asked why the resolution omitted instances of protester violence.
“I do not agree with police brutality but at the same time we do have to adhere that the police are also victims of the public and the stupid Bersih.
“…I am ashamed to be a member of the Bar, I wish I had an alternative [to the Bar]. I came just to say, ‘Why you need to gather by the roadside like a pariah?’”
“…I wish the government can give us an alternative [to the Bar, because] a lot of my friends do not want to be a member of this stupid Bar!” he shouted.
While he was speaking to reporters, a few lawyers taunted Abdul Bakar, chanting, “Bersih 4!”
In response to this, he said: “You see? Is this a forum of professionals? They want a Bersih 4.0, [but] they are just a bunch of idiots!”
Abdul Bakar later claimed that he had a younger sister, who in her capacity as a policewoman, was attacked by protesters that day.
He also blamed Bersih co-chairperson S Ambiga of shoring up publicity in a bid to “create havoc.”
Of the 1,270 Bar members who attended today’s EGM, 939 voted in favour of today’s resolution, while 16 voted against.
The rest either left the venue before the event ended or did not take part in the vote.
Failed to be apolitical
Fellow detractor Noordin Yusoff said that some lawyers booed at Abdul Bakar when he presented his views.
“They were angry with him and booing him down for giving his views. Contrary to what the others feel, it’s his right [to give these views],” he said.
He added that the Bar Council failed to be apolitical as it did not take protester provocation into account.
“Yes, they are talking about police brutality but they didn’t talk about them provoking the police for hours. The Bar Council should be apolitical and not a political party. Don’t take sides [with] Ambiga,” he said.
Though less vocal than the other two, Kedah lawyer Tan Keng Liang said he was unhappy with the Bar Council’s focus today.
Tan, who is also Kedah Gerakan Youth chief, said the Council did not include certain parties affected during the rally, such as traders, taxi drivers and other businesses.
“These are things that the Bar has to consider but was not in the motion, so I was unable to vote for it… I don’t agree to [the resolution as] it doesn’t show the assault done by Bersih participants on the police [when] in fact I saw footage of reporters attacked by [these participants],” he said.
He added that previous Bar Council EGMs had unanimous voting decisions, a case that was not repeated this time around.