SINGAPORE: The senior candidates standing in the annual election into the Law Society’s Council have called for its members to be united, reflecting the widening divide within ranks.
The senior category candidates (not less than 12 years’ standing as a lawyer) are — Mr Chuang Wei Ping, Mr Gregory Vijayendran, Ms Lisa Sam Hui Min, Mr Manimaran Arumugam, Mr Adrian Tan and Mr Zero Geraldo Mario Nalpon.
They are vying for three vacancies.
In the election messages that have been put up online, five of the six candidates expressed concerns about the society’s image and how the public perceives the profession.
Some have pointedly criticised the society’s handling of the law suit filed by lawyer M Ravi, saying the matter has been handled in an "embarrassing" manner and that more should have been done to keep members in the loop.
Others have made more veiled references, calling for members to close ranks behind those elected and restore trust between lawyers.
The election comes in the midst of Mr Ravi’s application to expel the society’s council members.
Mr Ravi is also suing the Law Society and its representative Wong Siew Hong for defamation.
The lawsuit follows Mr Wong’s appearance in the High Court in July on three occasions to present a letter allegedly written by Mr Ravi’s psychiatrist, stating he was unfit to practise.
This has been refuted by Mr Ravi’s psychiatrist.
On October 11, Mr Louis Joseph, who represents Mr Ravi in this case, said his client’s psychiatrist Dr Munidasa Winslow has certified him fit to practise law.
The clash also triggered a demand for an Extraordinary General Meeting last month, from 51 members of the society to shed light on the issue.
But at that time, a spokesperson for the 51 members said the meeting failed to answer their questions.
Some members have indicated that they may file another motion to censure the society’s committee.
After the meeting, Law Society president Wong Meng Meng said Mr Wong had acted on his own accord and had not been authorised by the society.
But according to Mr Wong’s defence papers submitted in late August, he said the Supreme Court Registry had informed him of Mr Ravi’s court schedule.
Subsequently, he spoke to Mr Wong Meng Meng who allegedly "expressed the view" that it would be all right to attend the hearing as "a courtesy to the court".
The case continues.
Meanwhile, close to 2,400 members of the society will have to vote on October 25. They can do so from 8am to 6.30pm at the society’s office at South Bridge Road.
The society’s elections are held every year for about half the council members, with each term lasting two years.
The other half of the council members will be midway through their terms so they do not have to vacate their seats.
Currently, there are 21 members on the council, of which four are non—elected positions.
Of the four, three are reserved for statutory members appointed by the Law Minister.
The other member is the society’s past president, which in this case, will be current president Mr Wong Meng Meng, who is not standing for re—election after a two—year term.
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