Call Speech for Nabilah Aryssa bt Mohamad Askandar

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Call Speech for Nabilah Aryssa bt Mohamad Askandar

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May it please your Lordship,

The Petitioner, Nabilah Aryssa bt Mohamad Askandar, is the second of three daughters of Encik Mohamad Askandar bin Mat Noh and Puan Razlen binti Dahlan. Her elder sister Natasha Suraya is a doctor. Her younger sister Nadia Nur Izzana studied actuarial science. The Petitioner happily filled the vacancy for law in the family. She is a graduate of the Islamic International University of Malaysia.

My Lord, the Petitioner is one of those that bear the stroke of good fortune of knowing what she wanted to do from a young age. She told me she wanted to be a lawyer since standard two, which would be about seven or eight years old. Her primary school report card from standard two to standard six demonstrated a constant, unwavering desire for law. “I’m grateful I got to read law, because I can’t see myself studying Economics. Or anything else.”

I admire that clarity of ambition and drive at such a tender age, My Lord. At that age, seven or eight years old, I had no ambitions for law; I merely longed to be a Smurf with my own mushroom house. There were no ambitions about the law for me. How she ended up with pathology for the law remains a mystery.

But I am fortunate and pleased to report that the Petitioner possesses the requisite good character to be a fit and proper person to be called to the Bar. There are three reasons why I say this.

The first is her deep sense of responsibility for the labours of law. When I asked her about what she thought the business of law was, she wrote, What’s most important for me is that our job is our Amanah. Our clients came to us to seek help, and as their lawyers, we have to do our best to help them… They put their trust in us to help them and it is our Amanah to do our jobs properly. I resonate entirely with the Petitioner about this. The practice of law is the performance of a sacred trust. Trust between lawyer and client, between lawyer and lawyer, and between lawyer and court. Trust is the oil to the engines of the justice administration system.

The second reason lies in her sense of service. When I asked the Petitioner why she wanted to be a lawyer, she replied, To be honest, my purpose in life is to help and serve people. … One day I hope I am able to do pro bono cases, especially for the poor and helpless ones. Again, I resonate with the Petitioner. A lawyer is one in the service of others. A lawyer exists to serve to provide legal services such as legal representation, legal counsel, legal documentation, etc. If there is no need for such services, we do not exist.

In this media and cultural age, it is hard to remember that a lawyer exists to serve others, not to serve themselves. That in service, the role of a lawyer is to facilitate, not frustrate. That the performance of law is for the benefit of others, not the glory of ourselves.

To the Petitioner’s aspirations to do pro bono cases, I say do not wait for that ‘one day’. Let that day begin now or tomorrow. One day is the day you take action. Do not wait for ‘one day’, because it never alights on those who wait. Make one day, every day. We do not need money to do pro bono cases; just time, effort, interest and a desire to help. Make that one day, today. But tomorrow, also can lah.

The third and final reason is her attitude toward legal practice. When I asked her what kind of lawyer she wants to be, she wrote, I remember back in my college days, my Introduction to Law lecturer asked me what kind of lawyer I want to be and my answer was, “an honest lawyer.” And my answer remains the same. An honest lawyer, who knows that her job and her clients are her Amanah… But most importantly, I hope I will be a lawyer who is able to assist her clients, her opponents and does not cause trouble to any parties. In Malay we say, yang memudahkan kerja orang.

I found the Petitioner’s answer refreshing. She didn’t say ‘successful lawyer’ ‘famous lawyer’ or ‘the best lawyer’. An ‘honest lawyer’. It almost sounds like an oxymoron given the general ill repute of lawyers in the public domain.

But these are ultimately the kind of lawyers we need more of at the Bar and before this Bench – honest lawyers that see their work as an Amanah, a performance of trust; lawyers that look towards memudahkan kerja orang dan bukan menyusahkan mereka; lawyers that prioritize the helping of others over the helping of themselves.

Those are the three reasons why I submit the Petitioner has the requisite good character to be a fit and proper person to be called to the Bar.

In closing, my Lord, the Petitioner would like to thank the following:

Firstly, her parents and sisters for their love, support and inspiration.

Secondly, everyone at Messrs Josephine, LK Chow & Co. particularly Josephine Ng Bee Leng and her Master, Cindy Chow Li Kian. She said it was an honour to work with these ‘wonder women’.

Thirdly, her soul sisters: Nisa Erina, Afzan Abdul Rahman, Hanania Azlin, Sabrina, Aishah Husna, Tengku Assila Maisara, Nur Munira Fakhira, Zarifah Afiqah, Nur Enurin, Zafirah Salimah, Qistina Nur Hidayah, Azra Nur, Siti Sarah, Noor Aishah and Anan Khadijah.

Finally, she thanks all her friends, colleagues and all those that helped her on her journey to the gates of legal practice.

My Lord, I believe the Petitioner’s cause papers are in order and my learned friends would have no cause to object. I submit the Petitioner is a fit and proper person to be called to the Bar.

And pray that the Petitioner, Nabilah Aryssa binti Mohamad Askandar is admitted and enrolled as an advocate and solicitor in the High Court of Malaya.

Called on 8.4.2022

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