Published on: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Kota Kinabalu: The Bar Council of Malaysia accepted the invitation by the Attorney General of Malaysia and the Sabah Law Association (SLA) to cooperate in the provision of legal representation to individuals being held under Ops Daulat.
Its President Christopher Leong said they lauded the assurance given by the Attorney General on March 15 that all persons apprehended or arrested during "Ops Daulat" shall be provided with access to justice and legal representation and will be dealt with in accordance with the due process of the law.
"This assurance is very much in accord with Malaysia's obligations to observe the requirements of our laws and international humanitarian law and human rights standards. Indeed, this reinforces our commitment to the rule of law in Malaysia.
"The Malaysian Bar is particularly heartened by and welcomes the Attorney General's invitation to the Bar Council and the Sabah Law Association to cooperate in this regard with providing such legal representation.
"We shall be taking steps to meet with the Attorney General and the Sabah Law Association on this," said Leong.
Meanwhile, SLA president Datuk Gaanesh Nandy confirmed that so far not one Sabah lawyer has approached the association to represent suspected terrorists and collaborators in the bloody ambush incident in Kampung Simunul on March 2 and those detained so far under Ops Daulat.
"It's quite early to represent É right now there is no access to the case as those individuals were detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012.
Daily Express had reported that two members are said to be considering acting as counsel but had yet to make up their minds.
Lawyer Marcel Jude, in a statement, said he is willing to represent those involved.
"Although acts in Lahad Datu were heinous and despicable, nevertheless all those detained must have legal representations.
Failure to provide and even a huge number are found guilty without legal representation, the implication is serious," he said.
"It will provide an excuse for interference by other countries, especially Philippines. The matter will not be properly resolved and may be resurrected in future if they did not have legal representation."
Criminal lawyer Ram Singh, when contacted, said he does not mind acting for the individuals involved.
Ram quoted Article 8(1) of the Federal Constitutions that read all persons are equal before the law and entitled to equal protection of the law.
"Even though what ever they have done, we cannot assume until evidence is produced in court.
We do not know the facts of the case, the nature of case until they are really charged in court," he said.
Ram however, said that there are other things to consider such as security for the defending lawyer.
"We have to consider our safety, security during hearing," he said. Another lawyer Rakhbir Singh, however, preferred to not do so.
"I have to decline É I love my country Malaysia and I owe my loyalty to the King and I am prepared to go to Lahad Datu to defend my country without fear," he said, when contacted.