Ismail Sabri on dancing AG, CJ: Okay for others but not for 'important' personalities

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 20 Jan 2019

Thomas (in white shirt) and Malanjum (in suit) dancing on stage.

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: Dancing is fine but it was the presence of "important" personalities who were seen dancing together that raised eyebrows, says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

The Umno vice-president said he was not questioning one's right to dance but seeing Attorney General Tommy Thomas, Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum and even Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong dancing together could be perceived as unethical and a conflict of interest.

"Maybe what happens in court is professional, but it is also a perception.

"From a layman's point of view, they think can kao tim (settle cases) now, as they are all together in a gang," he told reporters after a walkabout at the Brinchang morning market here on Sunday (Jan 20).

"People may think that if the AG brings a case to court, he can win easily.
"It's all perception and assumption and may not be the case, but we just want to avoid this.

"But in this country, a government can fall because of perception," he added.

He was asked to comment on a viral video showing members from the legal fraternity, including Thomas, Richard and Liew, dancing on stage at a gala dinner in Sabah on Jan 18.

The viral clip also showed activist lawyers Siti Kasim and Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, dancing to the classic Chubby Checker 60s hit "Let's Twist Again" at the gala dinner, which was hosted by the Sabah Law Society (SLS) in conjunction with the Opening of Legal Year 2019.

Ismail Sabri, who is also Bera MP, said the judiciary was supposed to be exclusive and cannot have outside relationship to prevent being influenced.

"Last time, it's even hard to meet them, what more to drink coffee with them.

"Judges are not angels, they are humans and can be influenced by friendship and other relationships," he said.

Ismail Sabri said he understood that there have been calls for Thomas, Richard and Liew to step down from their respective posts.

"The perception towards them is very bad now. To clean up their mess, they should apologise to the people and consider resigning voluntarily," he said, adding that judiciary ethics must be maintained.

"Let this be a lesson and not repeat the mistake," he added.
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