The criticism over Jelutong Member of Parliament RSN Rayer for representing an accused person charged for selling MyKads to Chinese nationals is disturbing and can amount to intimidation of counsel in the discharge of his duties.
I note the Bar Council’s view of the matter and am in complete agreement with the same, particularly that every person is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
I would further add that it appears that those criticising Rayer have presumed his client guilty of the charge against him which has led them to accuse of him of being in a conflicted position with the stand of the government.
It is elementary that lawyers act on the instructions of their clients and Rayer would have taken such instructions before deciding to represent his client. If such instructions are that his client is innocent, how can it be said that defending him is contrary to the stand of the government?
It is also absurd to suggest, as has been, that former DAP National Chairman Karpal Singh’s defence of people charged with various offences in the past can be distinguished from this case as Karpal was in the opposition at the time, as this somehow implies that the political affiliation of counsel is a relevant factor in the defence of his/her client.
Further, the argument that it is morally wrong to defend a person charged for an offence on the ground that such a defence goes against government policy cannot hold any water as this renders one’s right to be heard before being condemned insignificant.
Of course, it is entirely up to Rayer on whether to continue acting for his client. Such a defence, whether by Rayer or anyone else, however, should never be politicised.
Dated this 24th September, 2019.
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
CHAIRMAN NATIONAL LEGAL BUREAU
DEMOCRATIC ACTION PARTY