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Thursday, 9 August 2018

AG General Tommy Thomas defended his decision to appoint Sitpah to head the legal team representing the government in the suit to claim the Equanimity


AG: No conflict of interest in hiring former colleague for Equanimity case

Syed Jaymal Zahiid
Malay Mail9 August 2018



Sitpah was a former chairperson of the Shipping and Admiralty Law Committee of the Bar Council for many years and is the founding president of the International Malaysian Society of Maritime Law. ― Picture by Mukhriz HazimMore


KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 — Attorney General Tommy Thomas defended today the decision to appoint a lawyer from his former firm to head the legal team representing the government in the suit to claim the Equanimity, a luxury yacht linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Thomas said the consideration for the appointment of Sitpah Selvaratnam was made solely based on her expertise and vast experience in maritime laws.

Sitpah was a former chairperson of the Shipping and Admiralty Law Committee of the Bar Council for many years and is the founding president of the International Malaysian Society of Maritime Law.

“Ms Sitpah Selvaratnam is the acknowledged leader of the Admiralty Bar with regard to litigation matters, having been involved in numerous arrests of ships and vessels in our Courts, and also opposing arrests in more than 25 years of specialised practice,” the AG said in a statement.

“She is therefore the obvious choice to advise Chambers and myself on the matter there is no question of conflict of interest because we are all on the same side.

“It is neither right nor sensible for Malaysia to be deprived of the services of Ms Selvaratnam merely because I was in the firm where she has been a consultant for the past eight years,” the statement added.

Critics of the government raised questions about Sitpah’s appointment, claiming there could be a conflict of interest because she shared close working ties with the AG when the two were in still in private practice.

Sitpah is attached to Tommy Thomas Advocates & Solicitors, the law firm founded by Thomas.

She leads a team of four counsels comprising two other experienced private shipping lawyers, Jeremy Joseph and Ong Chee Kwan from Joseph & Partners, along with Senior Federal Counsel Alice Loke.

Their appointments were made necessary because of the absence of a special shipping unit at the Attorney General’s Chambers, Thomas revealed.

In return for their services, Joseph & Partners will be paid according to commercial rates while Sitpah will offer her services for free, the AG said.

The Equanimity, a crucial piece of evidence for the investigation into the misappropriation of billions of ringgit from 1MDB, docked at Port Klang yesterday.

Lawyers representing Low Taek Jho, believed to be the mastermind of the 1MDB fiasco, had filed a notice in a US Court yesterday that they were opposed to any suspension of proceedings and contested the handover of the vessel to Malaysia.

They filed a petition challenging what it said was the “unlawful and extrajudicial” seizure of the yacht, questioning the lawfulness of a warrant issued by the Indonesian police to turnover the vessel to Malaysia.

The US$250 million (RM1.02 billion) yacht docked at the Boustead Cruise Centre Terminal here at 12.40pm, under heavy escort by marine police.

Thomas said the complex nature of the case meant Malaysia needed the best lawyers for the job.

“It must be kept in mind that these legal proceedings are brought for the benefit of Malaysia. Accordingly, we are entitled to Malaysia’s best shipping lawyers,” he said.

“The decision to appoint Ms Selvaratnam was mine, and mine alone because I have trust and confidence in her ability and integrity




SITPAH SELVARATNAM, THE LAWYER APPOINTED BY THE AG TO CONDUCT THE EQUANIMITY TRIAL


EDUCATION
1990 - 1991: University of Cambridge, Cambridge
1988 - 1989: Holborn School of Law, London
1985 - 1988: University of Wales, Cardiff (UWIST)

QUALIFICATIONS
2008: Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration from Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Keble College, Oxford
1990: Advocate & Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya
1989: Degree of Utter Barristerfrom the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn
1991: Master of Laws (LLM) from University of Cambridge
Queens’ College, Second Class Honours (Upper Division)
Degree
1988: Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from University of Wales, Cardiff (UWIST), First Class Honours

AWARDS AND SCHOLARSHIPS
1990: British High Commissioner's Awardfrom the Kuok Foundation Scholarship
1988: Maxwell Award for Best Student of the Law Faculty from the University of Wales (UWIST)
1987: Philip E Philip Award for Law of Trusts from the University of Wales (UWIST)

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS
1. Member of the ICC International Court of Arbitration since 2018
2. Member of the General and Maritime Panel of Arbitrators of the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (KLRCA), now known as the Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC).
3. Member of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) Panel of Arbitrators
4. Member of the Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (SCMA) Panel of Arbitrators.
5. Member of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) Panel of Arbitrators
6. Member of the Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre (EMAC) Panel of Arbitrators.
7. Member of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) Panel of Arbitrators.
8. Supporting Member of the London Maritime Arbitrators Association (LMAA).
9. President of the International Malaysian Society of Maritime Law (IMSML).
10. Chair of the Shipping and Admiralty Law Committee of the Bar Council.
11. Co-Chair of the International Arbitration Committee of the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC).
12. Chair of the Maritime Law Committee of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA) (2015 – 2017)
13. Chair of the Women Business Lawyers Committee of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA) (2009 -2011).
14. Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb).
15. Fellow of the Malaysian Institute of Arbitrators (MIArb).
16. Accredited Mediator with the Malaysian Mediation Centre (MMC).
17. Member of the ArbitralWomen.
18. Chair of the Maritime Arbitration Working Committee of the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre of Arbitration (KLRCA) empaneled in August 2011 to consider and recommend facilitative measures to promote maritime arbitration in Malaysia.
19. Member of the Admiralty Court and Maritime Law Reform Taskforce empaneled by the Malaysian Judiciary in October 2010 to consider and facilitate the workings of the Malaysian Admiralty Court and reform of Malaysian maritime laws.
20. Member of the Combined Rules of Court Committee of the Bar Council, to review amendments to the Rules of Court; designated to draft and review the amendments to the Admiralty and Arbitration provisions thereof.
21. Appointed in June 2007 by the Attorney General’s Chambers of Malaysia to the Consultative Committee on the review of the Malaysian Arbitration Act 2005.
22. Member of the Committee established by Maritime Insitute of Malaysia (MIMA) (2004 – 2005) to consider the need for an Admiralty Court in Malaysia.
23. Appointed in March 2000 to the Consultative Committee established by the Securities Commission on asset securitization.
24. Consultant to Danaharta Managers Sdn Bhd, national asset management corporation, at its inception from March to May 1999.


The best part is, she is doing national service. She is not charging the Pakatan Harapan government a single cent. FOC.

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