MARCH 16, 2013

The Bar Council’s new office bearers, (from left) Karen Cheah (treasurer), Steven Thiru (vice-president), Christopher Leong (president), Richard Wee (secretary). – Picture by Boo Su-Lyn
KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 – The Bar Council will lodge a complaint of professional misconduct against senior lawyer Tan Sri Cecil Abraham with the Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board (ASDB) next week, newly-installed Malaysian Bar president Christopher Leong said today.

Lawyer Americk Singh Sidhu revealed at the 67th annual general meeting (AGM) of the Malaysian Bar today, as well as to reporters later, that Abraham had told him that he (Abraham) was responsible for drafting the late private investigator P. Balasubramaniam’s second statutory declaration (SD) on the 2006 murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu.

“We’ll (also) urge the Attorney-General’s Chambers to reopen investigations into Altantuya’s case,” said Leong at a press conference after the Malaysian Bar AGM here today.

“There could be professional misconduct (by Abraham) and that’s for the disciplinary board to investigate the matter and for them to decide,” he added.

Leong, 50, also said that the Bar Council would request Americk and carpet dealer Deepak Jaikishan to provide formal statements immediately.

Deepak has admitted that he helped to get Balasubramaniam to repudiate his first SD, including finding two lawyers to draft the new statement.

The ASDB, which is a body independent of the Bar Council, is statutorily tasked to investigate professional misconduct.

Balasubramaniam or “PI Bala” accused several top federal government personalities of being involved in Altantuya’s death in his first SD in 2008, two years after the brutal killing of the 28-year-old woman.

But he retracted the SD the following day and signed a new one omitting the names of these personalities.

Balasubramaniam died of a heart attack yesterday, weeks after returning home from self-exile.

Two former elite police commandos – Sirul Azhar Umar and Azilah Hadri – have been convicted for Altantuya’s murder and are facing death sentences.

The Court of Appeal will hear their appeal in June.

Leong said today that there was no fixed timeline for the ASDB to complete investigations on Abraham.

“The Bar Council would like to see that the process is expeditious and at the same time, that the process is thorough,” said the lawyer.

He added that the Attorney-General’s Chambers could relook Altantuya’s case based on evidence from Americk’s revelation today, as well as Deepak’s admittance of involvement in the case.

“Much has been said about the obvious lack of motive for the two police officers to commit the crime. That remains the unanswered question,” said Leong.

He added that the ASDB was chaired by retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad and included 15 other members.

The Bar Council is the statutory body regulating the professional conduct of 14,900 legal practitioners in the country.

Steven Thiru and Richard Wee were elected as the Malaysian Bar vice-president and secretary respectively today, while Karen Cheah was appointed by the Bar Council as treasurer.