Friday, November 07, 2008

Salleh Abas: Ex-judge shocked at Bar Council’s ‘errors’

Ex-judge shocked at Bar Council’s ‘errors’


KUALA LUMPUR: Former Lord President Tun Mohamed Salleh Abas is shocked to learn that the Bar Council had erred in granting consultant status to retired judges.

“Having read the Bar Council’s statement by its secretary and other comments, it is necessary for me to state that for over two years since Feb 27, 2006, the firm of Salleh Abas, Yaacob & Sofiah has at my behest and personal directions, been corresponding with the Bar Council to have me admitted as a consultant.

“In none of these correspondences has the Bar Council ever provided any explanation other than that I have not met with the requirement of Rule 60(1) of the Legal Profession (Practice & Etiquette) Rules 1978 as I have not been in active practice for at least 20 years.

“It is regrettable that only now members of the Bar Council have finally come out to give a clearer picture on their inability to accede to my request and the predicament they face should they do so,” Salleh said.

However, he added that it was surprising to read Council member Edmond Bon Tai Soon’s online statement on Feb 27 admitting that in light of the current Bar Council’s interpretation of Rule 60(1) and Rule 62 (Waiver), the previous Bar Council erred in granting a consultant status in favour of some retired judges.

Salleh said that he would leave it the legal fraternity to do the right thing.

“For public record, I wish to state that I was called to the Malaysian Bar on June 28, 1974 by the late Chief Justice Tan Sri S.S. Gill whilst serving then as Solicitor-General Malaysia.

“Whatever mistake done by the previous Bar Council in granting consultant status should not in the name of righting a wrong act to prejudice those who were already given consultant status,” Salleh said.

“I wish to slowly fade away from the legal scene and it is my desire nevertheless to still maintain a close relationship with the firm I helped established and, if possible, without the burden of being a partner.

“As far as I am concerned, the matter is now closed,” he added.