Malaysian deputy minister defends dinner dance custom of lawyers

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – The Sabah Law Society (SLS) shindig which made the news last Saturday for a video showing the Attorney General (AG), Chief Justice (CJ) and a minister doing ‘The Twist’ has been blown out of proportion, believed Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law) Mohamed Hanipa Maidin.

The dinner and dance was just another tradition of the legal fraternity whose other customs which are sometimes regarded as ‘very English’ include a ‘call to the bar’ by trainee solicitors and using expressions like ‘my learned friend’ in court, he said in a statement yesterday.

“The dinner and dance which has been turned into a ‘hot topic’ for no reason is in fact one of these traditions. Yes, I admit it may look a bit western and seen by the ‘holier-than-thou’ as not Syariah-compliant. But, for me, supporting and giving ‘life’ and ‘oxygen’ at one time to a kleptocratic regime is also not very Islamic or Syariah-compliant. So please-lah, stop acting!” he added.

Hanipa’s response follows a viral clip showing AG Tommy Thomas, CJ Tan Sri Richard Malanjum and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Legal Affairs), Datuk Liew Vui Keong, dancing on stage during the SLS ‘Opening of Legal Year 2019’ function in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah on January 18.

The video received a lot of attention on social media including from UMNO Youth Chief Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, who in a statement described the conduct as an embarrassment to the country’s judicial and legal system as it calls into question judicial integrity.