MEDIA RELEASE 12 MARCH 2012
QUOTATION OF THE DAY: IT IS BETTER TO REMAIN SILENT AND BE THOUGHT A FOOL THAN TO OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND REMOVE ALL DOUBT.*
In yesterday’s Sunday Post, Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit is reported to have ‘reasoned’ that many leaders of the opposition are lawyers, and their income is generated from fighting lawsuits, hence they go to rural areas to spread false information on how the government has violated the rights of the people and persuade them to bring their cases to court. ‘What they are eyeing are the legal fees. This is how they survive. I know their tricks’, he is quoted to have said.
As a leader of the Opposition and a lawyer who fights for the rural folks, I invite the honourable Minister to furnish the public with specific details about these tricks we have been accused of pulling. As he should know, it is no use making vague accusations when the accuser does not have facts to back him up, lest he ends up sounding like a hollow vessel. Is the honourable Minister saying that the land grabs that have been the subject of our many court cases are all ‘false information’? If he has the ‘real information’ I would be very pleased to hear it and I await his clarification with great anticipation. For his benefit, ‘real information’, means information backed by proper and relevant documentation, such as the type we produce as evidence in the conduct of our court cases.
The honourable Minister should be more prudent in his speech as he may be getting a touch of the contagious ‘foot-in-mouth’ disease from some of his equally honourable colleagues who have been in the spotlight the past week or so. It seems to me that by imputing improper motive to us, the honourable Minister is by extension casting aspersions on the wisdom and integrity of the Courts, which have been ruling in favour of the plaintiffs in many of our cases. He is treading on thin ice here – let him be duly warned.
Again, for the benefit of the honourable Minister, let me say that no lawyer worth his salt would file an action against the government or indeed any party if no reasonable cause of action exists. To do so would be to invite derision from the Bench, ridicule from the Bar and negligence lawsuits from the clients, not to mention a poor reputation for the law firm. Let me also say that the rural people will not take up legal suit against the government for no good reason especially when it comes to violation of their rights. They have been so oppressed and cowed by the BN government over the years that they would not resort to the Courts unless they had no other recourse. Contrary to what the honourable Minister says, we do not have to seek these people out; they know where to find us, and they are coming in droves. In fact, on many occasions, I tell these folks from the longhouses that I am already too busy with many NCR land cases and that if possible, they should engage other lawyers, but to no avail. Perhaps the insightful Minister could honour us with the fruits of his wisdom and tell us what he thinks is the reason for this phenomenon.
As for money motive, I need not say much except that the honourable Minister should take a good look at his greedy BN compatriots and their insatiable leader before accusing the Opposition of being motivated by money. The unashamed rent-seeking rampage and the unrelenting raping and pillaging of the land by the ravenous BN leeches has done irreparable damage to the state and ruined innumerable lives in the rural communities. Just last week, we were treated to the Assistant Minister of Agriculture’s unsavoury letter demanding kickbacks for a land development scheme. And the revelation that his party leader and No 1 defender is his alleged partner in the kickback business is equally repugnant. Given the track record of the BN, any politician motivated by money would have signed up with any of their component parties, instead of choosing to join the struggle of the Opposition. Of course, as lawyers we survive on legal fees, but I wish to inform the honourable Minister that money is not everything and that many of these cases are partly taken up on a pro bono basis.
It is obvious that the BN component parties are desperately trying to cling to power and that incumbent Ministers are falling over themselves to make an impression in the hope of being the chosen ones to contest in GE13. However, to parrot nonsensical statements without first engaging in a spot of cerebral activity is just showing the rakyat that they are but a bunch of drowning men grasping at straws.
Finally, I advise James Dawos to be more circumspect in what he says of the Opposition leaders of in future, for we are fully aware of our rights, unlike the natives who have been cheated and robbed by the BN politicians and their cronies. As our lawyers are currently occupied with the deluge of NCR land cases, we will overlook his deplorable ignorance this time. He should, however, take note that we will not hesitate to take legal action against him should he ever feel inclined to make similar baseless accusations again.
N 70 Ba’ Kelalan/
* Quotation attributed to various sources including the Bible, Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain.