The Barisan Nasionalís undemocratic and anti-professionalism attitude  illustrated by its  plan to ban lawyers from politics is the newest reason why the Barisan Nasional political hegemony must be broken by ending its two-thirds parliamentary majority in next general election


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
 

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): The Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of law and justice, Ibrahim Ali told Bernama yesterday that the government was  considering changing the law to bar lawyers from politics.

He said the government had received "numerous complaints" asking whether lawyers were abiding by their profession when they were also members of parliament or state assembly members and that  the government was ready to      consider public opinion before deciding whether to amend the Legal Profession Act to bar lawyers from politics.

Ibrahim Ali said if lawyers holding political posts also handled cases involving politicians, this could be a breach of the act.

I am not surprised by the intolerant and undemocratic hues of the Barisan Nasional government, but what is most astounding is its preparedness  to show  its  undemocratic and anti-professionalism attitude even before the general election by announcing its  plan to ban lawyers from politics.

This is in fact  the newest reason why the Barisan Nasional political hegemony must be broken by ending its two-thirds parliamentary majority in next general election to save Malaysia from a new orgy of abuses of power and undemocratic practices should the Barisan Nasional be returned with another landslide election victory, fully in saddle with at least two-thirds command  of the Parliamentary seats.

The Barisan Nasional Ministers should explain why  the Cabinet has given the greenlight to Ibrahim Ali  to consider legislation to ban lawyers from politics, which will be another dishonourable first for Malaysia in Commonwealth and even world history.  Is Ibrahim pandering to the ingrained dislike of Mahathir for lawyers, in trying to set the stage for a new  battle between the lawyers and medical practitioners so long as  Datuk Seri  Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is Prime Minister?

It is a tragedy for Malaysia that a legal ignoramus like Ibrahim Ali should be appointed as the government spokesman and minister in charge of law and justice  - and it is no surprise that Malaysia has been plunged into the worst crisis of confidence in Malaysia in the adminstration of justice and  the Police as independent, impartial and professional custodians of law and order.

DAP calls on the Barisan Nasional Cabinet to direct Ibrahim Ali to  abandon all plans to ban lawyers from politics, which will be a grave denial of the civic rights of Malaysians, regardless of their profession.  Is the Barisan Nasional seriously suggesting  that professionals like lawyers should be categorised as a new class of Malaysians who should be disqualified from serving as  MPs, this list to include other professionals in the passage of time, so that Parliament should be the  exclusive preserve of the likes of Ibrahim Ali, whose special distinction is to frog-jump from party to party?

(1/10/99)


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong