On 25th March 2010, a member of the Kuala Lumpur Bar, Amer Hamzah Arshad, was physically restrained against his will whilst discharging his duties as an Advocate & Solicitor at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex at Jalan Duta. The Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee is appalled and shocked that such an incident occurred to a lawyer in the performance of his duties as such.
Amer was in the process of securing the release of his client on bail when his client was approached by a group of persons who did not initially identify themselves. In the process of detaining his client, the said persons (who subsequently identified themselves as plainclothes personnel of the Royal Malaysian Police) also saw it fit to grab and physically restrain Amer who was attempting to ascertain the identity of the said persons and the basis for the detention of his client, after the Court had already ordered his release on bail.
The conduct of the said persons was a gross interference with the duties of a lawyer to act for his client and a blatant disregard and violation of the rule of law and accepted human rights principles.
The Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee regards this incident as wholly unacceptable and views the actions by the Royal Malaysian Police as symptomatic of a growing trend of conduct on the part of the Royal Malaysian Police to intimidate and interfere with the carrying out of the proper duties and functions of lawyers in representing their clients.
The Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee now calls upon the Inspector General of Police to immediately and unconditionally:
a) take stern action against the personnel of the Royal Malaysian Police who physically restrained Amer Hamzah Arshad against his will;
b) undertake not to further interfere with the carrying out of the proper duties and functions of lawyers in representing their clients;
c) issue a public apology to all concerned;
e) undertake to respect the rights of the Malaysian public to unimpeded and free access to lawyers at all times.
The Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee also supports the Memorandum of Protest issued by N. Surendran and Latheefa Koya which is to be handed over to the Inspector General of Police on 31st March 2010.
Dated this 31st day of March 2010
Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee