Haris Ibrahim, well done!

Well done, Haris Ibrahim of The People’s Parliament, for his initiative in launching and submitting 5,036 signatures to the Yang di Pertuan Agong in his online petition for royal intervention for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape scandal on the perversion of the course of justice implicating the Chief Justice, Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim.

Haris, one of the country’s most distinguished human right advocates, submitted the petition with the signatures to the Istana Negara at 10.35 am this morning — exceeding the 5,000-signature target he had set.

Haris had wound up the signature petition earlier than expected in view of the meeting of the Conference of Rulers on Wednesday, 31st October 2007.

However, Malaysians who wish to support the “Save The Judiciary” online petition can still do so as Haris is prepared to submit a second batch of signatures before the Conference of Rulers meeting — giving a three-day window for a final push for the campaign.

As Haris told the Malaysiakini:

“If there are sufficient signatures, we’ll deliver them to His Majesty’s office so that more Malaysians can express their concerns to the monarch”.

Those who have not endorsed the “Save the Judiciary” online petition should do so immediately.

  1. #1 by boh-liao on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 8:09 pm

    Well done indeed. Thank you.
    God helps those who help themselves. If you want change and action, do something. Ask what you can do for the country.

  2. #2 by undergrad2 on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 8:35 pm

    If Haris is the kind of human rights activist lawyer we like to see, think again!

    If the issue of human rights is dear to him, this man should not be charging fees of the magnitude he charges i.e. $20k for a simple 4-page opinion on an aspect of syariah law that a chambering student could write in 30 minutes.

  3. #3 by observer on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 9:38 pm

    At least there is hope for the downtrodden Malaysian if the Conference of Rulers take a stance on this important issue facing our judiciary. Bravo for those who seek justices and fight on behalf of the silent and ignorant majorities. Long lives our King .

  4. #4 by undergrad2 on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 10:13 pm

    Only 5,000 signatures?? This is pathetic! How could Malaysians be on the side line on the issue?

  5. #5 by observer on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 10:37 pm

    Any perceived information deem not favourable to the ruling BN will see a minimum of light, or not at all. This is a reality as ‘Real World’ would tell us.

  6. #6 by HJ Angus on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 10:55 pm

    I agree with undergrad2 that 5000+ signatures is a very low figure.

    If all the DAP and PKR members had signed, the number would surely be greater.


    Nevertheless it was a good initiative.

  7. #7 by yellowkingdom on Friday, 26 October 2007 - 11:28 pm

    Indeed, I concur with HJ Angus, 5000+ is a pathetic number considering that we had over 100,000+ for the fight against crime. Nevertheless, a good initiative. Yes, what happened to our friends in the Opposition, DAP, PKR…Didn’t we rally them to participate in this exercise? I wonder if this reflects the attitude of the majority -apathy…. I feel there is a greater need to galvanise the opposition to generate greater awareness and support for issues affecting our society.

  8. #8 by undergrad2 on Saturday, 27 October 2007 - 2:19 am

    Well, we’d have to wait for the November 10 th rally and the clash between supporters and the police and their Mat Rempit cohorts.

  9. #9 by disapointed86 on Saturday, 27 October 2007 - 4:45 am

    i think this person is kind and concern about the judiciary issue we encounter today..5000 signature for a short period of time..how many of us willing to do this? most of us rather wait and see…no matter what…we all should give credit to his good deeds..
    To undergrad2:
    Only 5,000 signatures?? This is pathetic! How could Malaysians be on the side line on the issue?

    dont you think you’re over to say its pathetic? what have you done? even though its only 5000..but you and me would not do it..why dont we congratulate him for his wonderous deeds?

  10. #10 by lbn on Saturday, 27 October 2007 - 6:57 am

    Get who you know to sign the petition. Everyone just does their part. United we stand!

  11. #11 by HJ Angus on Saturday, 27 October 2007 - 7:36 am

    Ibn’s suggestion is good.

    The place has accepted the petition so you can add your name too even if a little late.

    But I guess many people who rave and rant in blogs can only do just that – instead of telling your king that the country is in grave danger if we all allow things to become worse.

    Don’t procrastinate. DO IT NOW.

  12. #12 by Old.observer on Saturday, 27 October 2007 - 9:13 am

    “If Haris is the kind of human rights activist lawyer we like to see, think again!

    If the issue of human rights is dear to him, this man should not be charging fees of the magnitude he charges i.e. $20k for a simple 4-page opinion on an aspect of syariah law that a chambering student could write in 30 minutes.” – Undergrad2



    As a layperson, I don’t know anything about the $20k fee. Naturally, I despise over-charging.

    Having said that, to be fair to Haris, I also don’t know the surrounding context, e.g. whether the buyer had a choice or no choice in the matter. To give Haris the benefit of the doubt, perhaps the Buyer did have a choice, and decided to pay the $20k anyway? Since you’ve pointed out this, I would like to inquire if you are the buyer, or are you Haris’ competitor who lost out?

    Notwitstanding the above, I do know that this guy has done a MOST AMAZING thing, which goes beyond successfully obtaining 5,036 online signatures within such a short time, even though the latter is a GREAT START. The latter has rendered his services FREELY to all online petitioners to sign, to request for a Royal Commission of Inquiry. This is not a small feat that you and I could have done. If it was that easy, why didn’t you and I do it? The fact that we didn’t do it, and the fact that he did it, is a loud statement that he has made a wonderful contribution to the future of Malaysian society. Every small steps count, even if the final result is still no change (I hope not). So, despite any past claim of overcharging, I think what he has done today is a Wonderful thing, and I would like to take this opportunity to Congratulate Haris for a job well done!

    Old Observer.

  13. #13 by mickey01 on Saturday, 27 October 2007 - 9:16 am

    Well done, haris. But it will harden the concerned hearts of those in power to do more to obstruct justice as their hearts glows in darkness of greeds and in sins. May God bless Msia.

  14. #14 by Old.observer on Saturday, 27 October 2007 - 9:26 am

    “Only 5,000 signatures?? This is pathetic! How could Malaysians be on the side line on the issue?” – Undergrad2


    Sadly, the size of the online community is small fraction compared to the Real World out there. And the size of those interested in politics and Lingam-gate is even smaller.

    This is the reality and the nature of the problem we are dealing with. How to open Rakyat’s eyes on what is happening, when the Media controls what the Rakyat perceive and not perceive? When the Media has the power to divert Rakyat’s attentions with so many ways? Just talk to 10 of your non-online friends in real life, and see if even 1 of them is aware of Lingam-gate.

    I have stated before here, that it imperative that the Opposition parties invest some monies to create a VCD that highlights all these problems, and distribute these VCD freely to all Malaysian voters. Potentially, this involves creating 10 million VCDs. These VCDs should be playable on the oldest VCD player that is widely available in every single household in this country. Perhaps one will still doubt whether such a 30 minute VCD will have an impact or not, but if we don’t try, we won’t know. And if we don’t try, we are certain to fail.

    But the VCD alone is insufficient. We ourselves have a role to play outside of Internet. We must touch the lives of our families, friends, colleagues, neighbours, and people around us. Talk about the issues that are important to us, such as the underfunding of public utilities, public transportation, libraries, etc. Why the underfunding? Why burn $90M just to send some idiot into space? Contrast China space technology where they built their own spacecraft – there, they have the technology, whereas we just shuttle a passenger into space on the most expensive taxi ride. Ask if they know about the Port Klang Free Zone. Why $4.6 Billion lost yet, no heads rolled? Point out the mega projects – how much transparency is there really? Point out Rafidah’s APs – how much her family has benefitted? Point out how our country is so much richer in natural resources compared to Singapore, yet, why are we left behind economically? Point out why should BN stops corruption when the Rakyat has always voted them in every single time. Point out why should BN not increase the size of corruption if they know they are going to win the next election. And then tell them that all they need to do is nothing. Yes. Nothing. Because there isn’t anything one can do in Real Life. The only thing is on election day. On that day, that is the only day that Rakyat can ever hope to change the future. And on that day, vote any other party that is not BN. Then, maybe, there is a small glimmer of hope, that maybe something might change.

    It all depends on us. To touch the lives of those around us that we care about.

    Old observer.

  15. #15 by Old.observer on Saturday, 27 October 2007 - 9:35 am

    “Any perceived information deem not favourable to the ruling BN will see a minimum of light, or not at all. This is a reality as ‘Real World’ would tell us.” – Observer


    I agree. So, we need to go one step further, and ask ourselves – what can we do outside the Internet?

    We know we cannot control the action of others. But we have full control of our own actions. So, the question that we must ask ourselves is “what can I do to help kickstart the change?”

    To me, the only way I know how is to talk about the topics blogged here by our YB, with as many people as possible OUTSIDE the Internet. Who? Start with your family. Then, your friends. Then, your colleagues. Then, your neighbours and every other people you meet on a day to day basis.

    What to talk about? So many topics … start small. Low quality education, low quality public transportation, low quality everything, yet, huge corruptions, Port Klang Free Zone, …

    Ask whether they think this country is managed well or not. Compare with Singapore.

    Whilst we have all these dissatisfaction, ask them why should BN government not mismange MORE in future when Rakyat continue to vote them into power in this coming election? If last time, one crony got $100Million, why shouldn’t he try for $1 Billion next 5 years? After all, the Rakyat has voted him in.

    If I was one of the few lucky ones, I would definitely go for a bigger amount the next time, when I have a 91% mandate by the Rakyat to perform an even bigger “rape”.

    Why not? After all, I control the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary. I control the Media. I control everything!

    Something to ponder isn’t it?

    Old Observer.

  16. #16 by dawsheng on Saturday, 27 October 2007 - 10:47 am

    “Well, we’d have to wait for the November 10 th rally and the clash between supporters and the police and their Mat Rempit cohorts.”

    This is going to be interesting. Uncle Kit, you shouldn’t be there for safety reasons. We do not know if the have suicide bombers on stand by.

  17. #17 by chai on Saturday, 27 October 2007 - 4:41 pm

    that is absolutely well done by haris. but i think our government will see nothing and will not respond to this even haris carry out this activity, because we are too small and government always neglect our petition and appeal.

  18. #18 by undergrad2 on Sunday, 28 October 2007 - 2:04 am

    “Something to ponder isn’t it?” Old Observer

    Enough of pondering. It’s time for action. It’s time to walk the talk.

  19. #19 by Haris Ibrahim on Sunday, 28 October 2007 - 3:43 am

    In my 17 years at the Bar, I have only twice been called upon to do a written opinion related to Syariah law.

    One was for the Syariah Law Sub-Committee of the Bar Council. The other was for the Bar Council.

    In either case, there was no professional charges.

    YB Lim has been too kind in his description of me. I thank you for your kind words.

    My involvement in human rights work is principally in the area of the freedom of religion cases. This accounts for about 30% of my court work.

    I do not charge professional fees for my freedom of religion cases. In cases where the client can afford disbursements, I am grateful for the same, which is usually no more than RM1,000.00.

    undergrad2’s comment is markedly similar to one that appeared in my blog on 6/5/2007 by one Raja to a post entitled ‘Every Malaysian is a son of the soil’. I reproduce that comment below :

    Raja Says:
    May 6th, 2007 at 6:04 am e
    Haris, you’re nothing more than a hypocrite. I once spoke to you about your fees. If you say what you say you are, explain why you charge someone RM25,000.00 for a five-page opinion on the law?

    I replied as follows :


    RM25,000 for a five page opinion or RM50,000 for a 1-page legal opinion, how would either make me a hypocrite vis-a-vis my stated views in this post?

    Make out your case and I will crawl into a hole and never emerge again.

    undergrad2 obviously does not approve of what I do in the public spectre. I shall therefore make him the same offer.

    Produce proof that I wrote a 4-page opinion on Syariah law and then charged RM20,000 for the same and I will disappear from the public space never to be heard again.

  20. #20 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 28 October 2007 - 12:01 pm

    I would agree that how Haris charges for his work in giving a legal opinion has nothing to do with his human rights activities. After all Haris has to make a living, and in his case as a lawyer. Fee is a willing buyer and willing seller thing : what’s wrong if the client is prepared to pay even RM100,000 for a one page legal opinion because the client thinks that one page is a distillation of pure legal wisdom worth actually RM200,000? Only half baked lawyers write volumes of inconsequential nothing/padding to justify the fee, and as always, quality is not always synonymous with quantity.

    Haris himself “does not charge professional fees for my freedom of religion cases” constituting 30% of his court income…..

    Now if a man pursuing a honest calling in his profession make a name for himself in doing 30% of his so called social human rights work (for which he does not charge) and in that process of doing 30% of free work he gets rich and prosperous out of the balance of 70% of the work which has nothing to do with his social human rights work, what’s wrong with that?

    Are we going to label everyone a hypocrite unless he devotes 100% of his work free?

    This is an issue of motives. The criticism comes from the direction that the moment one mixes motives of (1) human rights work (30%) with (2) profit from balance of 70% work, the fact that (1) promotes (2) sullies the motive under (1) and renders it somewhat less that meritorious ie not inspired 100% by noble motives unadulterated by commercial motives. Hence the use of the word “hypocritical”.

    Personally I hold a lower standard. I think no one should be grudged to make a good living for himself whether in busines or practice – even if such were facilitated by the fame or “public relations coverage” of altruistic human rights work beneficial for the community provided that (a) one expends effort, diligence and passion in the human rights work and (b) when the human rights work and its imperatives collide or conflict with imperatives of commercialism and money, the former prevail over the latter (which in the case of Haris, he already said he didn’t charge for his “freedom of religion cases”). Thus the balance has been maintained and one cannot impute hypocrisy in such a circumstance. The esential ingredient of hypocrisy is insincerity and the way it is best illustrated is when one does something that directly conflict with his human rights work – the fact that one benefits in other areas from one’s human rights work is not a contradiction nor a hypocrisy, it is mere promotion of good public relations for one’s practice that people should not grudge. How many human rights activists are aftetr all multimillionaires who don’t have to make a living at the same time? If they were concerned about human rights activities per se it is also doubtful whether they are likely to become multi millionaires. :)

  21. #21 by grace on Sunday, 28 October 2007 - 4:56 pm

    Just go to the market place and simply ask. Everyone is wanting to get rid of those bastards on the tape! Hope DYMM listen to our plea. No doubt 5000 signatures looks petty. Rest assured that is translated into the desire of at least 95% of the population. The remainder 5 % who supported the extention would most probably made up of UMNO, MCA, MIC or Gerakan apple polishers who have no backbones

  22. #22 by Bigjoe on Monday, 29 October 2007 - 7:25 am

    There is only one opportunity for the PM to subscribe to Royal Commission and that is for the coming UMNO GA to signal he can do so. If UMNO ultras take the debate on this issue at the GA, then he cannot do it.

    In fact, its the onus on the PM to signal that UMNO GA not to go overboard on this issue or he will by defacto have signal he will not agree to it as it would be politically too costly for him to do it, at least anytime soon.

    Make no mistake, UMNO GA is about the coming GE. This GA is so close to the GE that it will tell him when he plans to have an election. If he finds that he can control the warlords, he will go for an election very very soon. Otherwise, it will be later, March 2008 being the likely date..

  23. #23 by Old.observer on Monday, 29 October 2007 - 1:45 pm

    “Enough of pondering. It’s time for action. It’s time to walk the talk.” – undergrad2



    Two things:

    1. Go for the walk.
    2. Whilst you are walking, do also ponder these questions:

    a. Were you too hasty to accuse Haris of doing something that he didn’t do?
    b. How many BN people outside the Internet have you talk to recently regarding the coming GE? Did you manage to convince them to vote for the Opposition? If not, why not?

    Don’t forget to ponder over these 2 questions whilst you are walking :-)

    Old Observer.

  24. #24 by undergrad2 on Monday, 5 November 2007 - 6:48 am

    To: Haris Ibrahim

    My criticism of you is harsh because I’m very disappointed with you over the fees you quoted. You have forgotten about it because it was in 2003. I stand with what I said earlier. I paid a non-Muslim lawyer RM5k to write the opinion. He was more than happy to do so – if you know what I mean.

    That Raja you refer to is not me. So it appears that there is more than one disappointed party.

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