O YOU who have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in upholding equity, bearing witness to the truth for the sake of God, even though it be against your own selves or your parents and kinsfolk. Whether the person concerned be rich or poor, God’s claim takes precedence over [the claims of] either of them. Do not, then, follow your own desires, lest you swerve from justice: for if you distort [the truth], behold, God is indeed aware of all that you do!

AN-NISA (135)


The recognition bestowed on Ambiga Sreenevasan of Malaysia and seven other women as recipients of  the Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage 2009 award is an honour for the women of Malaysia, especially those who have worked tirelessly in the pursuit of justice, equality and human rights in their particular sphere of interest and influence.

As Bar Council President, Ambiga’s advocacy of judicial reform and good governance has received much publicity in a nation astir with talk of reform among  citizens clamouring for change. Paradoxically, this change will only come with a return to the traditional values of loyalty, honesty, uprightness, fairness and basic human goodness – all ingredients of private and public integrity.

As the spokesperson of a legal fraternity fraught with arguments and argumentations, Ambiga has braved the storm and offered sound opinions, despite threats to her personal security. In the current scenario of countless suits and countersuits on matters as diverse as private morality and public order, the Bar Council President has managed to hold her own and avoided the partisan stance of some of her more learned brother lawyers and judges.  

It is with great pride that Malaysians, especially your sisters, salute you for the honour that you have brought to our country! To see you flanked by the two most powerful women in the United States is indeed a joy that will inspire the other women of Malaysia to stand tall and continue their fight for justice, equality and human rights!

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