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SIBU, Oct 8: The demise of Chairman of Advocate Association of Sarawak (AAS), Sibu Branch, Wee Wui Kiat in an apparent suicide on Sept 7 has come as a shock to many in the legal fraternity.
Sibu High Court judicial commissioner Christopher Chin Soo Yin in his speech at a reference proceeding for Wee today said that even those closest to Wee did not know that he was suffering from high emotional distress.
“In the face of this, understandably, we find ourselves asking why we were not more alert or attentive to his person and his mental health and why we did not pick up on any symptoms manifesting themselves in his situation. Sometimes a potentially fatal depression or sense of hopelessness, like a disease, can lurk beneath the surface and remain unobserved until it is too late,” said Chin.
He added that while Wee’s death left them “feeling raw and at a loss of how this could happen,” he said that such mental anguish demands its victim to hide what he is acutely suffering from, from those closest to him.
“But I ask all of you that are close to him to understand that his emotional distress generated a state of mind that made him believe that he had no choice but to take his life in the way he did. I am very sorry to say this to you. I ask all of you to accept this fact, and to move on,” he advised.
On the reference for the late Wee, he said he had suggested it as he was acutely aware of the emotional trauma his passing has caused the legal fraternity in Sibu.
As a lawyer in Court, Chin found him to be always courteous and respectful to the bench, and above all, also a very able and articulate in his presentation of his client’s case.
President of the Advocates Association of Sarawak, Antonio Sim Peak Khiong called for the legacy of Wee be an inspiration to the members of the Bar for those in the legal profession.
“We have also all gathered here today to pay homage to the many achievements and accomplishments of Mr Wee Wui Kiat and to formally record and honour his life, to hear what he stood for, to recognize his many contributions, his devotion to advocacy, his sacrifice to the legal fraternity, to society, to our country,” he said.
Sim’s text was read by his representative, Ranbir Singh Sangha, the Immediate Past President of AAS.
Wee was the eldest son in his family, and had attended Methodist Kindergarten, Methodist Primary School and thereafter Methodist Secondary School where he completed his Form 5 education.
In 1995, he obtained a scholarship to study in Tuart College, Perth Western Australia for Year 12. He took up Law in Monash University, Melbourne and graduated in 2000. He was admitted to practise as a barrister and solicitor by the Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia.
He returned to Sibu and was called to the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak on March 23, 2002.
In November 2014 he published a book titled ‘Malaysian Law on Division of Matrimonial Assets’.
George Lim of Battenberg & Talma Advocates Sibu, who knew Wee for 19 years, said he was a very private person, sensitive, kind and humble.
“Anyone who had the opportunity to do cases with him can testify that he conducted himself with professionalism, honesty and transparency. The same was also expressed by all his clients. He was always so open to help those in need. I will miss the time we spent together in discussing our cases and exchanging our views,” he added.
The Proceedings was organised by AAS (Sibu Branch), with the assistance and cooperation from the Sibu Judiciary to honour Wee, to relive and recollect his life and contributions to the Bar, and who had passed away under tragic circumstances.
Also speaking were Priscilla Lau (PR Lau Advocates), Boston Ho (Wong Orlando Chua & Kuok Advocates) and Christine Lim (Battenberg & Talma Advocates Sibu), a representative of the family of the late Wee. — DayakDaily