The Malaysian Bar today clarified that it had stripped Umno's candidate for the Permatang Pasir by-election Rohaizat Othman of his legal pips because he was found guilty of misconduct, according to a Malaysiakini report.
This is contrary to the claim by Umno vice-president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that
Rohaizat's practising licence was revoked following problems incurred by the former partner in the legal firm.
However, Malaysian Bar secretary George Varughese said: "The finding of misconduct is personal to Rohaizat, as the (advocates and solicitors) disciplinary board would not hold a lawyer liable for the actions of his/her law partner(s)."
He said the board struck off Rohaizat, who is also a Syariah legal adviser, on March 7, 2008.
"The decision arose from an investigation into the complaint lodged against Rohaizat by the purchaser of a piece of property," he said in a statement.
"According to the complaint, Rohaizat failed to refund almost RM161,000 to the complainant after the transaction was aborted."
Varughese said Rohaizat had appealed against the decision of the board to the High Court and the appeal was dismissed on Aug 12 this year.
"He is therefore legally disqualified from practising as an advocate and solicitor," he added.
On Sunday, Zahid said the Umno candidate was eligible to contest in the Permatang Pasir by-election even if his licence had been revoked.
He said that the issue would not affect Rohaizat's chances in the by-election.
"Umno's legal advisers have run a check and found that he (Rohaizat) is still eligible to contest in Permatang Pasir.
"The Bar's decision must be respected by the lawyers registered under it. Legally, Rohaizat is probably innocent, but morally, it can be questioned by his opponents," he had said.
"This is an issue of public perception. We will explain to the voters what really
happened," he added, admitting that the opposition would definitely use the issue to their advantage.
Come Aug 25, Rohaizat, 38, will take on PAS' Mohd Salleh Man for the state seat, located in the heart of the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency in Penang.
The Permatang Pasir seat fell vacant when three-term PAS assemblyperson Mohd Hamdan Abdul Rahman died of an illness on July 31.