Speech by SMS Assoc Prof Ho Peng Kee at the Law for Community Leaders Programme
8 Jan 2011 Posted in Speeches
Mr Harry Elias, Chairman, Pro-tem Committee, Senior Counsel Forum
Mr Yam Ah Mee, Chief Executive Director, People’s Association
Mr Jeffrey Chan, Deputy Solicitor-General
Friends from the Legal Fraternity and People’s Association
Thank you for coming here this morning.
This morning’s launch is something that I am privileged to attend. This is a wonderful outreach by the Senior Counsel Forum in conjunction with the People’s Association, to reach out in a very authentic way.
The Senior Counsel, as you know, are at the apex of the legal profession. They have earned the right to be called Senior Counsel because they have shown by the quality of their work and their commitment to the profession that they deserve this title. And I daresay that because our society has supported our Senior Counsel to where they are today, it is incumbent upon them to lead, not just by raising the quality of the profession, but also by having more of them do pro bono work. I hope that your example this morning will be an inspiration to all lawyers, particularly younger ones, to also do pro bono work.
Pro bono work is something very close to my heart, and that’s why I’m very happy to be here, because at MinLaw, where I’ve been for 17 years, I have been spearheading pro bono work. I know Mr Harry Elias has been instrumental in starting the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, or CLAS. In Parliament, very often I get questions on what lawyers are doing in terms of volunteerism and pro bono work. I read his quote online on the Law Society’s website, where he extolled the importanc contribution of CLAS. For the Law Society, CLAS is a very good example of lawyers helping less fortunate Singaporeans with their criminal cases.
Now in terms of grassroots leaders, they are very close to my heart too. I know that you want to serve, and I want to affirm what Mr Yam Ah Mee has said. Grasp this opportunity to raise your doubts, ask your questions and probe the minds of these top legal brains. And when you do that, take away practical insights where you can apply in your daily work in the grassroots.
My primary task this morning is to witness the signing of the MOU, so I just want to say thank you to all of us, and all those who are to come - I’m sure there are other Senior Counsel and grassroot leaders who will come too. Let the word go forth that this is an outreach where everybody can benefit. I want to commend the People’s Association, especially Mr Yam Ah Mee, for taking this initiative – he is about four or five months into the job – and we can see quite a number of new endeavours surfacing, including more outreaches.
So let’s all work together because ultimately, the key point is that Singaporeans will benefit, particularly those who are less fortunate who may not have easy access to legal advice; including disputing neighbours, I think we are all very familiar with that; or dysfunctional families who want some tips on how to handle their children; or residents who are aggrieved because somebody has passed away suddenly and they don’t know what to do, that is, intestacy issues. These are all very practical situations. Learn, apply and transfer advantage to people whom all of us serve.
On this note, let’s all enjoy one another’s fellowship and take away useful lessons so that we all learn, we all grow, and Singaporeans can benefit.
Thank you very much.
Last updated on 25 Nov 2012