Monday, February 18, 2008

Fiji misses opportunity: Malaysian lawyer

The Fiji Times

FIJI has missed an opportunity to show its judicial process is above board and they have nothing to hide as the International Bar Association was very neutral in their observations and were highly experienced.

Malaysian Bar President, Ambiga Sreenevasan made the comment on the Malaysian Bars website in reaction to the barring of members of the International Bar Association members from travelling to Fiji to conduct an independent assessment.

"I am confident that the IBA will be very professional and neutral in its observations as they are highly experienced in undertaking missions of this sort", Mr Ambiga said.

Malaysian Lawyer Roger Tan was barred from entering Fiji after the interim government issued a stop arrival order to border officials at the Nadi International Airport last Friday prohibiting him from entering the country.

The order prohibits Tan, Peter Maynard, Justice Roslyn Atkinson, Felicia Johnston and Cecelia Burgman from entering the country and it is effective from the 18th to the 22nd of this month.

Tan is the Chair of the Conveyancing Practice Committee of the Malaysian Bar Council.

He holds a Bachelor of Laws with Honours from Queen Mary College of the University of London, and a Master of Laws from the National University of Singapore.

On January 30, interim Attorney General of Fiji, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the IBA Human Rights Insitute was not welcome to visit Fiji now because their presence would undermine the independence of judges hearing high-profile cases.

Tan, who was supposed to board the flight from Malaysia to Sydney en route to Fiji yesterday evening.

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