The dinner and dance was just another tradition of the legal fraternity whose other customs which are sometimes regarded as “very English” include a “call to the bar” by trainee solicitors and using expressions like “my learned friend” in court, he said in a statement today.
“The dinner and dance which has been turned into a ‘hot topic’ for no reason is in fact one of these traditions. Yes, I admit it may look a bit western and seen by the ‘holier-than-thou’ as not Syariah-compliant.
“But, for me, supporting and giving ‘life’ and ‘oxygen’ at one time to a kleptocratic regime is also not very Islamic or Syariah-compliant. So please-lah, stop acting!” he added.
Hanipa’s response follows a viral clip showing AG Tommy Thomas, CJ Tan Sri Richard Malanjum and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Legal Affairs), Datuk Liew Vui Keong, dancing on stage during the SLS “Opening of Legal Year 2019” function in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah on Jan 18.
The video received a lot of attention on social media including from UMNO Youth chief, Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, who in a statement described the conduct as an embarrassment to the country’s judicial and legal system as it calls into question judicial integrity.
Meanwhile, legal expert and Malay Consultative Council (MPM) advisory board member, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman, when met at his house today said, the social event isn’t anything unusual and that it has been held for a long time by law practitioners as a celebration of friendship.
"No need to make it an issue-lah. There’s no problem and it's not the first time it is being held,” he said.