Bar Council backs chairman facing threats of defamation action from Najib’s lawyers

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 — The Bar Council expressed its unanimous support today for Malaysian Bar president Karen Cheah over a possible defamation lawsuit from three lawyers involved in former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s SRC International case.

Vice-president of the Malaysian Bar Mohamad Ezri Abdul Wahab said the Bar Council made the decision during a meeting on Saturday.

“The Malaysian Bar has always expressed and will continue to express its concerns on matters of public interest — the administration of justice, and the standards of the legal profession in the country.

“An attack on the president of the Malaysian Bar for doing so, is an attack on the Bar Council, and by extension, an attack on the Malaysian Bar,” he said.

Cheah is also the chairman of the Bar Council by virtue of her position as the president of the Malaysian Bar.

Today, Mohamad Ezri said the Bar Council also supported Cheah’s August 19 press release entitled “Abuse of Process Brings Disrepute to Our Justice System”, which prompted the legal action against her.

“The press release was made on behalf of the Malaysian Bar in relation to the recent case involving the former Prime Minister at the Federal Court, and is the subject matter of a letter of demand dated August 26, 2022 issued by Messrs Zaid Ibrahim Suflan T H Liew & Partners representing three of their partners, Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim, Liew Teck Huat, and Rueben Mathiavaranam,” he said.

On August 29, the trio reportedly said they would initiate legal action against Cheah if did not apologise and retract the statement on their conduct in Najib’s appeal in the Federal Court within five days.

They claimed in a letter issued via their law firm that the Bar’s statements insinuated the lawyers acted “in flagrant contempt of court“, were “unprofessional, incompetent and ignorant of the professional rules of practice and etiquette” and were ultimately “not fit to practice as advocates and solicitors“.