Legal representation of Munawar and Sukma


October 20, 1998

A meeting was called by the Bar Council on Friday, 16th October, 1998 to verify the facts in connection with the legal representation of Dr. Munawar Ahmad Anees and En. Sukma Darmawan Sasmitaat Madja in their appeals to the High Court. The lawyers present were Mr. Manjeet Singh Dhillon, Mr. Balwant Singh Sidhu, Mr. K. Ganesan, Mr. Gobind Singh Deo, En. Zainur Zakaria, Mr. P. Uthayakaumar and En. Mohamed Apandi Ali, Chairman of he Criminal Law Committee. Chairing the meting was Mr. Mah Weng Kwai, Secretary of the Bar Council. Lawyers En. Mohd Yacob bin Karim and En. Mohamed Noor bin Hj Don declined to attend the meeting.

It was established from those present that Dr. Munawar signed a letter of retainer dated 24th September 1998 engaging Messrs Balwant Singh Sidhu & Co. to act on his behalf in the appeal against his conviction and sentence by the Sessions Court. It was further established that despite the existence of a letter dated 26th September 1998 from Dr. Munawar to Mr. Balwant Singh Sidhu and Mr. Manjeet Singh Dhillon, as counsel, informing them of his decision not to proceed with any appeal, a Notice of Appeal was in fact signed by Dr. Munawar on 29th September 1998 and filed by Messrs Balwant Singh Sidhu & Co on the same day, being the last day for appeal.

Following that, Messrs Balwant Singh Sidhu & Co, received a carbon copy of a letter dated 8th October 1998 from the Registry of the High Court addressed to the Registry of the Sessions Court acknowledging the Notice of Appeal and informing them of the appeal case number.

Insofar as En. Sukma Darmawan is concerned, the Bar Council was informed that Puan Kamalawati, sister of En. Sukma had instructed Messrs Zulkifli Nordin & Associates, to file an appeal on En. Sukma's behalf. The Notice of Appeal was duly prepared and signed by En. Zulkifli Nordin but he was unable to proceed with the matter due to his subsequent detention under the Internal Security Act on 28th September 1998. Puan Kamalawati then met with Mr. Gobind Singh Deo on 28th September 1998 and signed a letter of retainer appointing Mr. Karpal Singh as counsel for her brother and on 29th September 1998, Messrs Karpal Singh & Co proceeded to file the Notice of Appeal signed by En. Zulkifli Nordin earlier under cover letter of Messrs M. David Morais, who was assisting En. Zulkifli Nordin. The Bar Council was informed that Mr. Karpal Singh was not able to meet with En. Sukma in prison, despite attempts to do so, before the Notice of Appeal was filed.

As in the case of Dr. Munawar, Messrs Zulkifly Nordin & Associates and Messrs. M. David Morais received a carbon copy of a letter dated 12th October 1998 from the High Court Registry addressed to the Sessions Court Registry acknowledging the Notice of Appeal and informing them of the appeal case number.

In the final analysis, the Bar Council is of the view that irrespective of the lawyers involved, it is for Dr. Munawar and En. Sukma when appearing before the court on the date of hearing of the appeals to confirm whether they in fact wish to proceed with their respective appeals and if so, who their solicitors are.

Dated: 20th October, 1998.

MAH WENG KWAI, HON. SECRETARY

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