Call Speech for Ng Choo Yeow

May it please My Lady,

Despite the legal profession’s glorious history, the strictness of ethics and nobility of purpose, the public often casts us in the role of the Devil, even when we’re only the Devil’s advocate. And worse, there are legally qualified people who haven’t a clue about what it means to be a lawyer, never mind a Devil’s Advocate, so they play to that awful public image thinking that’s the way to go about things. The public conveniently forgets their role in creating such poor lawyers.

So, it is good that we have someone like the Petitioner, Ng Choo Yeow, who is not beholden to public opinion and has firm ideas of his own about what it is a lawyer does. In his answers to my questions he wrote:

I feel that a lawyer should be more than just a mercenary. A lawyer should stand for the principle of maintaining the public interest and fighting against those who try to corrupt the system. A lawyer should rise and defend the constitution of the country and the fundamental rights of the people. There should be one law for all instead of a preferred standard for a few individuals who feels that they are above the law. A lawyer should always stand and be the crusader for the legal system in this land. The law in my opinion should be protecting the public rather than against them.

I agree wholeheartedly with these sentiments. However, I do want to warn the Petitioner that these sentiments are not always easy to express in the face of deadlines, strict or unreasonable employers, unreasonable clients with a big fee and the prospect of no fees. Because the Petitioner will find that nobody wants to pay lawyers to defend the Federal Constitution and Fundamental Liberties. And it is those with a lot of money who are often against the Federal Constitution and Fundamental Liberties.

Having said that, I have faith that the Petitioner will stay true to his ideals. When I asked him what his expectations were for himself as a lawyer, he wrote:

My expectation of being a lawyer myself will always be helping those in need and standing for what is right while earning a living without feeling regret in the future. The moral and ethical principle is always important in the attitude you treat your client, peers and the public. We should not take advantage of helping others due to the means of the fees they paid and we should always be fair to both parties. I have come across lawyers that take advantage of others knowing that they are illiterate and draft terms, which is leaning on one-sided. I feel that legal practitioners should be righteous and trustworthy towards the public when they are in the profession. I have told myself that upon my call to the bar I will involve myself in the Legal Aid Community to do my part as a member of the Bar.

These are high standards that the Petitioner has set for himself, but not impossible. In fact, I think it will be easy for the Petitioner if his commitment throughout his career remained towards the law, but more importantly, Justice. The business of law is Justice, not profit maximization. And if anybody else tells us otherwise, they are not a lawyer, they are a legally qualified businessman. Just to be clear, I am not saying we do things for free but for a reasonable profit, or should I say a Just profit.

I suspect the Petitioner will have no trouble with this. His grandfather whom he looks up to started as a farmer but by the time he retired sent both his children overseas and amassed enough capital for them to start their businesses. His late uncle was born poor but educated himself and worked as a legal clerk before qualifying as a plumber until he eventually became a developer. The Petitioner tells me these two were his role models who inspired him to persevere and work hard to achieve his dreams.

The Petitioner says choosing law was easy because of his natural tendency towards fairness and the influence of his late uncle who influenced him greatly toward a career in law. My interview with him reinforced my impression of his fine qualities and revealed more clearly not just his passion to be a good lawyer but his thoughtful appreciation of his clients, cases and his own self-development.

For all these reasons and more, which if My Lady requires I am happy to file a written submission on this, I believe the Petitioner to be of good character and a fit and proper person to be called to the Bar.

My Lady, in closing the Petitioner would like to thank the following people:

Firstly, his deepest gratitude to his parents, Mr Ng Choon Liang and Madam Chan Mei Ling.

Secondly, he would like to thank his girlfriend Ms Denise Ong for being his pillar of strength and for her unconditional care and love throughout all these years.

Thirdly, he would like to thank his seniors Ms Joanne Leong, Ms Jackie Law, Ms Githa, Ms Azie and Mr Au Yong Wai Nyan and colleagues for their guidance and valuable advice.

Special thanks to his late grandfather Mr Ng Son Hoe, and late uncle Mr Chan Hwa Aik for their guidance, advice and most importantly, their influence on the person he is today.

Special thanks to all his college and university mates and lecturers as well as those that stood by him in moments of difficulties which includes Vin Sin, Sey Yew, Yee Kiong, Leshanth, Sarvesh, Joshua, Jai, Gurmeet, Mark and Thuresh.

I believe the papers are in order. And my learned friends have no objection.

I pray that he be admitted as an Advocate & Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya.

Called on 25.3.2016

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