Arrest of lawyer in P.J. Police Station
HAJI SULAIMAN ABDULLAH
Chairman of Malaysian Bar 20th April 2000
Thursday, 20 April 2000, 00:00
The Police are an integral part of the Criminal Justice System. Lawyers are an equally integral part of the process. Hence all right-thinking people in the country would be affected if these 2 parts of the system are seen to be in conflict.
It is in this light that the Bar Council is gravely disturbed about the arrest of Cheah Kah Peng, a young lawyer, in Petaling Jaya Police Station on 16th April 2000. Saudara Cheah was at the Police Station for the purpose of looking after the legal rights of his client, Tian Chua.Saudara Cheah has informed the Bar Council that he was forcibly pushed away from his client, angrily shouted at by Police Officers and then told he was going to be charged with obstruction of public servant in the course of his duties.
Saudara Cheah was there to protect his client in the execution of his duty. Instead he was thoroughly intimidated, pushed around and accused of a criminal offence.After having seen and heard Saudara Cheah and read the Police Report lodged by Saudara Cheah at the P.J. Police Station at the time of his arrest, the Bar Council requested an urgent meeting on this issue with the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Dato’ Jamil Johari, in the absence of the Inspector General who is currently overseas.
The Bar Council welcomes the positive reaction of the Deputy I.G.P. who met the representatives of the Council on Thursday 20th April 2000. The Bar Council emphasised that while not wishing to lessen public confidence in the Police in any way, the Bar Council was concerned that events such as 16th April 2000 may cause lawyers to fear to enter Police Stations or to act fearlessly in the defence of their clients.Dato’ Jamil assured the Council that there would be full investigation into the whole incident. He re-assured the Bar Council that he and his senior officers fully appreciate the role of the Bar Council and the function of the individual lawyer seeking to protect his client.Dato’ Jamil stated that the Police were generally concerned to ensure that investigations are not impeded. However, Police Stations should be safe places and no cases of intimidation should occur. Both parties were of the view that over-zealous officers could mishandle a situation but efforts would be made to ensure that the rights of a client to consult a lawyer as well as the right of the lawyer to carry out his functions are respected by the Police.
The Bar Council stresses that the independent lawyer is a vital asset in national development and a key element in the development of a healthy vibrant democracy.The Bar Council is continuously monitoring the situation to ensure that lawyers in Malaysia will be able to carry out their functions without fear or favour and completely free from any threats or retaliation.
HAJI SULAIMAN ABDULLAHPENGERUSI20th April 2000