Muslim lawyers want observer status in Arun Kasi contempt case

Muslim Lawyers Association president Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar foresees wide ramifications for the legal profession. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Muslim Lawyers’ Association has applied for a watching brief in contempt proceedings against lawyer Arunachalam Kasi, better known as Arun Kasi, who wrote two articles critical of a court judgement in February.

MLA president Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar said the committal proceedings brought by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas provided cause for concern, as the outcome of the case would have a wide ramification on the legal profession.

He said a lawyer must be allowed to act without fear or favour in conducting a case. “A lawyer cannot be above the law but he can express his views even it means supporting or criticising court judgments,” he said.

The Bar Council has also appointed lawyer Robert Lazar to observe the proceedings and to make submissions if invited by the court.

The Federal Court will hear the charge against Arun on March 28

Arun Kasi had written two articles about an affidavit of Court of Appeal Judge, Abdul Hamid Abu Backer which described alleged judicial misconduct.

The articles, published at the Aliran website, were under the headlines “How a dissenting judgment sparked a major judicial crisis” on Feb 16 and “Tommy Thomas must look into arbitration centre that sparked judicial crisis” on Feb 22.

A week later the Attorney-General obtained leave from the Federal Court to initiate contempt proceedings against Arun on the grounds that the articles had scandalised judges of the Federal Court.