November 23, 2008

Lawyers don't do what they preach...

There are a lot of politicians from the legal background either as a graduate of law school but never practice law or famous law practitioners who are fodder for their soundbites in or out of Parliament. They are well-known to be hardliners and don't care what people say about them. Either to their face or behind them. Some of the best politicians, which are subjective (I mean, what is a good politician? A good bullshitter?) are lawyers. Either in the opposition side or the current government side. Either in the Parliament of Malaysia or as a state assemblyman. All are known for being very good in talking the talk. But do they walk the walk?

Currently, there is a kind of a upheavel among lawyers on the lack of lawyers willing to take the mantel of a presidency of the Bar Council or being on the council itself. There are a few articles in newspaper like in the Star newspaper on 21.11.08 by the Putik Lada columnist or a campaign by aboth the lack of voting papers being returned to the Bar Council secretariat. We vote by post you see.

If any one of the candidate want to rig the voting, I think its plausible as it is just a piece of paper with the name of the candidate and a column for you to tick your choice. This year, there are 23 candidates for 12 post. Everyody remember the fiasco of last year's Bar Council election? I think, but am not sure, the case on that election is still on appeal. That what's I love about the Bar Council, half of our yearly fees go to defending the Bar from litigations due to some members not being satisfied with the Council's decision.

Choose me as the next Bar Council President and I will act cute to get what I want

According to that article in the Star newspaper (pg. N55) by Janet Chai Pei Ying, it is said that out of the 13,000 current registered Bar Council member, only 3,500 will return their ballot paper. The other ballot paper will be recycled as rough paper (that's what I usually do with all the circular sent by the Bar Council before they started to send me emails) or even worse just thrown out into the trash. If the list of candidates of this year is anything to go by, nearly 80% of it are the same candidate you see year in, year out.

Why you say? Like what Janet said in her article, the Bar members who will always itching for a fight and argument during the Annual General Meeting, have no interest in being leaders or charts the course of the Bar Council. They were willing to let a few who sometimes have to sacrifice their time to sleep to fight for all the things the Bar Council stands for. Some I may not even agree with but I have just realised the power of my vote and I voted this year. I even sent SMSes to a few of my lawyer friends and asked all the lawyers in my firm to vote.

I have experienced the localised version of the Bar by being a member of a Committee in a Bar Committee of a state in Malaysia. My partner is a chairperson of one of the Committee in the same Bar Committee and we have found out the hardship and the sacrifice that we have to make worthwhile. It was great to learn about being a member of a society like we did once in university but it is a different ballgame althogether. Next year, we may do a role reversal...

Back to my comment on lawyers in general especially with regard to the Bar Council. Lawyers just don't want to care when they are supposed to. They should vote and don't just bitch about the lack of support or the fights that the Bar is fighting is not up their alley or they don't agree on it. Vote and determine who leads. Then you can make a change. Like that guy in a country halfway across the world says,

"Yes, we can...!!!"

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