Bar Council denies ulterior motive in clarifying Rohaizat’s case

Malaysian Insider
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 – The Bar Council today dismissed allegations by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that it had ulterior motives in confirming to the media that Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate for the Permatang Pasir by-election Rohaizat Othman was a disbarred lawyer.
Its secretary George Varughese said today in a statement that it was authorised to speak on behalf of the disciplinary board, which is established under the Legal Profession Act.
Muhyiddin, the deputy president of Umno, had hit out at the Bar Council yesterday for “having an agenda” against the BN candidate for the by-election here, after it was revealed the Umno man was a disbarred lawyer.
The Bar Council had issued a statement in response to queries from the media Tuesday, confirming that Rohaizat was a disbarred lawyer.
Rohaizat had been disbarred last year after he was found guilty by the disciplinary board of misconduct in failing to return RM161,000 belonging to his client, the Penang Rubber Smallholders’ Cooperative.
The Bar Council also clarified that Rohaizat had been found guilty of personal misconduct and had lost his appeal against the decision in the High Court last Wednesday, five days before Umno nominated him for the by-election.
The Bar Council’s statement contradicts Rohaizat’s version of the events. The candidate blames his partner in his law firm for committing the misconduct.
But the Bar Council said it does not hold lawyers liable for the actions of their partners.
This morning, Rohaizat’s former partner also came forward to dispute Umno’s version of events by pointing out examples of how the Umno candidate had used their client’s funds.
In their statement today, the Bar Council said it regretted the statement made by Muhyiddin, implying that it had an ulterior motive in raising this issue.
“The decision to strike Rohaizat Othman off the Roll of Advocates and Solicitors was made by the Disciplinary Board, an independent body established under Section 93 of the LPA.  Members of the Disciplinary Board, which is currently chaired by Tan Sri Khalid Ahmad bin Sulaiman, are appointed by the Chief Judge of Malaya after consultation with the Bar Council.
“The Bar Council is authorised to speak on behalf of the Disciplinary Board on matters relating to disciplinary proceedings involving advocates and solicitors,” said Varughese.