Rock n Roll controversy
Published on: Sunday, January 20, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Attorney-General Tommy Thomas and Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum have been criticised after a video of the two dancing on a stage in a social event for the legal fraternity on Friday night.

Several politicians have chided them for allegedly tarnishing the image of impartiality and integrity of the judiciary by fraternising with other prominent lawyers and activists.

“Since before, the judiciary and legislative institutions are sensitive with whatever social mingling, especially among judges, that may affect public confidence towards their honour, ethics, integrity and morals,” said Umno Youth chief Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki in a statement.

“What more if it involves the Chief Justice and Attorney-General socialising with politicians and high-profile individuals that surely will court controversy and erode public trust over any decisions that they may decree later on.”

PKR’s Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad also insisted that judiciary and executive figures must keep their image of impartiality and the integrity of the institution in official events.

“In 2016, we have questioned then attorney-general and ministers dancing in a Merdeka event. We have to be consistent,” he said in a tweet.

In 2016, a video showing a man resembling Tan Sri Apandi Ali was spread online, in which he was seen dancing with Barisan Nasional ministers, including Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, and Datuk Nancy Shukri during the Merdeka Day parade then.

The video with Thomas and Malanjum was shot during a gala dinner in Kota Kinabalu hosted by the Sabah Law Society in conjunction with the Opening of the Legal Year 2019. The two were dancing popular 60s rock n roll tune Let’s Twist Again by Chubby Checker, which popularised the twist dancing mania.

The video was also said to feature Minister in charge of Law Datuk Liew Vui Keong, and prominent lawyers and activists Datuk S. Ambiga and Siti Kasim.

Siti Kasim hit back at the critics. “We were in a legal function. Of course the top guns in the legal area will be there,” Siti said in a Facebook post, attaching an earlier critical report by Malay daily Sinar Harian.

“No wonder under Barisan Nasional, everything shuts down. Pretenders and hypocrites the lot of them.

“At least we were not hiding anything. It’s just a normal dinner where we ‘enjoy’ ourselves. Or have they not recognise this word anymore?” she asked.

“If you have integrity, self-respect and honesty, you will remain so under whatever circumstances,” she added.

In KOTA KINABALU, the Sabah Law Society (SLS) refuted any suggestion of impropriety.

Its President Brenndon Soh said the function was an annual celebratory tradition for Sabah and Sarawak after the formal ceremonial proceedings held earlier in the morning. 

He said it would be a sad day for our legal community if members feel constrained from dancing at an annual social occasion such as the OLY 2019 as a result of such unsubstantiated criticism. 

“The OLY 2019 is a closed door celebration by all stakeholders of the legal fraternity, namely members of the judiciary, the attorney general’s chambers and members of the bar. 

“This joint event between the bench and bar has occurred since 2001 and it is the hallmark of a mature legal community. 

“It is therefore very disappointing that certain groups are attempting to politicise what is essentially a social and harmonious occasion reflective of our East Malaysian hospitality,” he said in a statement, Saturday.

Soh said the only real “twist” is that of the facts and they have faith that the society is similarly mature enough to recognise that the individuals in the video are able to separate their professional life from the personal.  - Malaymail



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