Social events don’t compromise judiciary, says Bar after dancing uproar

The Malaysian Bar has warned against ‘politicising’ an event which saw the chief justice, among others, dancing on stage.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Bar today slammed calls for the chief justice and attorney-general to resign over a video clip showing them dancing with lawyers at a dinner organised by the Sabah Law Society last week.

Bar president George Varughese said the calls, along with suggestions for Chief Justice Richard Malanjum to be referred to a tribunal for alleged misconduct, were “utterly erroneous, misplaced and unwarranted”.

“Social gatherings and events involving various or all stakeholders in the administration of justice, where the participants interact in an informal setting, are far from new and have been commonplace occasions for numerous years.

“The warm camaraderie between members of the judiciary, the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the Bar does not in any way jeopardise the integrity and impartiality of the administration of justice.

“The judiciary remains wholly independent in carrying out its role of dispensing justice, and is not compromised as a result of such social events,” he said in a statement.

The event in Kota Kinabalu on Jan 18 drew flak from the Muslim Lawyers Association of Malaysia (PPMM), which urged the prime minister to recommend that the king set up a tribunal to take action against Malanjum.

PPMM president Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar said the king had the authority to sack a judge if the tribunal found him in breach of ethics or guilty of any other acts warranting action under the law.

However, Varughese said the Bar was astounded by such “outlandish” reactions.

He also hit out at all attempts to politicise the event, which he stressed had been social in nature and was now the target of “baseless criticism”.