RR Chelvarajah, a past chairman of the Bar Council Malaysia, died on Dec 6 after a short illness. He was 80 years old.
He started his career as a teacher after completing teacher training at the Malayan Teachers’ Training College in Kirkby, Liverpool, Britain (1959-1960). He was posted on his return to his hometown, Melaka, and taught at the Malacca High School.
While teaching, he also played an active role as a trade unionist. He was for several years the chairman of the Melaka Branch of the Nat-ional Union of Teachers and was a national-level council member. He was also a member of the general council of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress for several years.Chelvarajah returned to Britain in 1966 to read law. He and his wife, Leela, were both called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn in London in 1969. They were called to the Malaysian Bar in 1970.
Chelvarajah practised as a partner in one of the oldest law firms in Malaysia, Sault and Co, in Melaka; upon his retirement, he was appointed a consultant of the firm until the time of his demise.
He was one of the longest-
serving members of the Bar Council and was elected chairman in 1999. Chelvarajah held a watching brief on behalf of the Malay-sian Bar at Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s first trial in 1999 in the KL High Court, working closely with the late Karpal Singh, Anwar’s lead counsel.
In recognition of his ability, seniority and commitment to the rule of law, he was appointed in 2009 as a member of the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board.
The Malaysian Bar has lost a great leader who served the Bar with distinction.
S. RADHAKRISHNAN , Advocate & solicitor Kuala Lumpur
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