Table bill to end mandatory death penalty, government told

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Bar says the government should table a bill in the current parliamentary session to put an end to the mandatory death penalty, declare an official moratorium on the use of the punishment, stay any pending executions and commute every death sentence to one of life imprisonment.

In a statement today, Bar president George Varughese said the statutory imposition of the mandatory death penalty ties the hands of judges and diminishes their role in carrying out justice.

“It prevents them from considering the manifold mitigating factors and distinctive circumstances that surround each case, before sentencing.

“These factors include, and are not limited to, the offender’s age, rehabilitation goals, past criminal record, role played in the offence, mental capacity, reparations made, fear of another person, use of violence, harm done to property or persons, and degree of cooperation with the authorities.

“Justice will not be served if these factors are not taken into account before the mandatory death sentence is mechanically handed down – without a judge’s thoughtful consideration and weighing of any mitigating elements – to comply with the letter of the law,” he said. Read more

Ex-Bar presidents: Trivial, needless to snub Malaysia’s two top judges

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

Ragunath Kesavan said it was unnecessary to insist on a social boycott of the Chief Justice and Court of Appeal president.Pic by The Malay Mail Online.

The Malaysian Bar’s resolution to socially ostracise two top judges is relatively insignificant and unnecessary compared to its other moves to protest the duo’s allegedly unconstitutional appointments, said two former presidents.

Ragunath Kesavan, the Malaysian Bar president from 2009 to 2011, said such a social “boycott” would also affect other judges other than the actual targets, the Chief Justice and Court of Appeal president.

“My personal view is that it is unnecessary to insist on any form of a social boycott as although the boycott is only in relation to the CJ and PCA, any judge attending any function outside the judiciary would require the permission of the CJ.

“There are larger number of lawyers and judges now and the dissenting views within the judiciary is also welcomed and appreciated. It makes it very difficult for any judge to attend any function organised by the Bar,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted yesterday. Read more

Bar Council wants special panel of ex-judges for lawsuit against CJ’s extension

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 —The Bar Council will ask the Chief Judge of Malaya to appoint a special panel of former judges to hear its planned lawsuit to challenge the tenure extensions of Malaysia’s two most senior judges.

Malaysian Bar president George Varughese said the planned lawsuit to challenge the appointment of the Chief Justice and President of the Court of Appeal is “unprecedented”, adding that it was necessary to get a completely new panel of judges to avoid “conflict of interest”.

“Surely they will be in a position of conflict of interest if either of them were to preside over the bench which decides in respect of the legal challenge.

“In fact, we hold the view that all members of the current Federal Court will also be equally conflicted in presiding or deciding over such a challenge. Hence why we are urging the Chief Judge of Malaya to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to appoint additional judges specifically to hear this court matter,” he told reporters. Read more

Lawyers vote to sue against CJ’s extension, give cold shoulder

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 — Members of the Malaysian Bar today agreed to legally challenge the Chief Justice and Court of Appeal President’s extended tenures and to refrain from inviting both to social events and dinners.

Malaysian Bar president George Varughese confirmed that the majority of the 993 lawyers who attended the Bar’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) today voted in favour of the resolutions, and fewer than 10 people abstained or voted against the motion.

George, who proposed the motion that was voted in today, confirmed the lawsuit will be filed.

“Yes, one of the decisions today is to institute legal proceedings against these appointments which the Bar Council will do shortly,” he told reporters immediately after the closed-door EGM. Read more

Bar: Contempt of court to continue using ‘bin Abdullah’

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Bar says the National Registration Department’s (NRD) decision to continue adding the surname “bin Abdullah” when registering a Muslim child whose parents are not married, is in contempt of court and cannot be condoned.

In a statement today, Bar president George Varughese noted that the government had filed an appeal against the Court of Appeal decision, adding that this was within its rights.

“However, until and unless there is an order for a stay of execution of that decision and/or the decision is reversed by the Federal Court, it is incumbent on all parties to respect and comply with the decision,” he said.

On July 25, the Court of Appeal said the NRD had acted outside its powers when it used the surname “Abdullah” to register a Muslim child born out of wedlock, against the mother’s wish to use the father’s name. Read more

Parliament must restore judicial power to courts, says Malaysian Bar

Source: FMT News

In applauding a Federal Court ruling that Parliament cannot undermine the doctrine of separation of powers, the Bar says the Judiciary must check and balance any excesses of the executive or legislature. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Bar has urged the government to give effect to a recent Federal Court ruling that judicial power remains in the hands of the court.

“The Bar reiterates our call upon the government to restore Article 121(1) to its original form, in order to bring the Federal Constitution in line with the Semenyih Jaya decision,” its president George Varughese (pic) said in a statement.

He said this in response to the landmark judgment by the Federal Court in Semenyih Jaya Sdn Bhd v Pentadbir Tanah Daerah Hulu Langat & Another delivered on April 20.

A five-man bench unanimously held that Parliament does not have the power to amend the Federal Constitution to the effect of undermining the doctrine of separation of powers and the independence of the Judiciary, despite the amendment to Article 121(1) done in 1988. Read more