Video of AG, CJ dancing sparks backlash, claims of 'ethical violations'

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 19 Jan 2019

PETALING JAYA: A video of Attorney General Tommy Thomas and Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum dancing onstage at a social event the Magellan Sutera Resort in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah alongside prominent personalities has gone viral, sparking criticism among certain parties.

In a statement on Saturday (Jan 19), Umno Youth Chief Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki called the viral video an embarrassment to the judicial and legal system of the country.

According to him, members of the legal system must display sensitivity when engaging in social interactions, especially judges.

“What more if it involves the Chief Justice and Attorney General who socialise with politicians and high-profile individuals, which can surely court controversy and chip away at the rakyat’s trust towards any decision they make in future,” said Asyraf.

The clip also shows activist lawyers Siti Kasim and Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, as well as Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong, dancing to the classic Chubby Checker 60s hit Let’s Twist Again at a gala dinner organised  by the Sabah Law Society on Friday (Jan 18) night.

Claiming “ethical violations” and “conflict of interest”, the Umno man said justice must not only be done, but also seen to be done.

Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad also weighed in on the issue, linking it to a 2016 story about a lawyer taking offence at the Attorney General of the time for dancing in a video.

Nik Nazmi said dancing at a private event was up to the individual. However, when it came to an official event, leaders of the judicial and the executive had to preserve the image of the independence and integrity of the judicial institution, he added.

“In 2016, we questioned the AG and a minister for dancing at a Merdeka event. We must be consistent,” he added.

Meanwhile, Siti Kasim, who can be seen in the video, did not mince her words in responding to the brickbats.

In her Facebook post on the matter, which links to a Sinar Harian story detailing a person’s worries over the separation of powers between the executive and judiciary due to the video, she said: “If you have integrity, self-respect and honesty, you will remain so under whatever circumstances.”

She also attacked the “controversial lawyer” label: “What controversy? Does (sic) my bank account full of money? Do I get discharged from my current trial with Jawi? Do I get favours from the CJ? From the AG? Nope.

"If I talk to them, it's all about the orang asli. I don't even know them personally.”

Siti Kasim said that all those shown were at a legal function, stating that “of course, the ‘top guns in the legal area would be there”.

“At least we were not hiding anything. It's just a normal dinner where we 'enjoy' ourselves,” she added.

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