by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, March 27, 1992:
What moral and political right has Syed Hamid Albar to escalate and aggravate Bar-Government relations when he himself voted in full support for the 1988 Bar Council resolution expressing no confidence in Tun Hamid?
It is most shocking that there are people bent on escalating and aggravating Bar-Government relations and not allow a ‘cooling-off’ period to take place to reduce the Bar-Government and Bar-Judiciary tensions as a result of the ill-advised attempt to repudiate the 1988 Bar Council resolution at the recent Bar Council Annual General Meeting.
The Minister for Justice, Syed Hamid Albar, in a front-page interview in New Straits Times, said the Government is reviewing legal work done by Bar Council members for its departments and agencies.
He said the review will be “directed at those who benefit¬ting from the legal work also spoke against the Government and the judiciary”.
It is clear that the Justice Minister is responding to the UMNO Youth demand early this year that the Government penalise legal firms whose lawyers dare to take a principled stand on the important issues
of the Rule of Law, the Independence of the Judiciary and the independence of lawyers, by withdrawing government contracts and work from them.
The Justice Minister should be helping to reduce Bar-Government tensions and improve ties, rather than in the forefront to escalate and aggravate them.
In fact, what moral and political right has Syed Hamid Albar to escalate Bar-Government relations when he himself voted in full support for the 1988 Bar Council resolution expressing no confi-dence in Tun Hamid in the midst of the 1988 Judiciary Crisis resulting from the arbitrary sacking of Tun Salleh Abas
as Lord President?
Syed Hamid’s role and full support for the 1988 Bar Council resolution was brought up in Parliament several times and was never denied or challenged by the Justice Minister.
Is Syed Hamid trying to ‘make up’ for his full public sup¬port for the 1988 Bar Council resolution against Tun Hamid, by now spearheading a campaign against the Bar Council? Is this Syed Hamid Albar’s price for continuing as Justice Minister?
At a time when the country will be facing an economic crisis because of the economic slowdown in United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and even Singapore, resulting in drastic drop in investments in the country, it is very shortsighted for Ministers to create controversy after controversy, and crisis after crisis in the country.
This is because Malaysia will be projecting a negative international image about its investment climate, for the principle of the Rule of Law and the Independence of Judiciary are close to the hearts of all potential investors.
DAP calls on Syed Hamid Albar to stop all negative approach to the problem of Government-Bar relations and take positive steps to improve them, by first allowing a ‘cooling-off’ period to take place, instead of escalating and aggravating them by making threats against lawyers and abusing the legal community, of which he is a member.