Raja Aziz Addruse

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Yang Mulia
Raja Aziz Addruse
President of Malaysian Bar Council
In office
Preceded by V. C. George
Succeeded by Abdullah A. Rahman
In office
Preceded by Param Cumaraswamy
Succeeded by S. Theivanthiram
In office
Preceded by Manjeet Singh Dhillon
Succeeded by Zainur Zakaria
Personal details
Born (1936-02-10)10 February 1936
Chemor, Perak
Died 12 July 2011(2011-07-12) (aged 75)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Nationality Malaysian
Alma mater University of Bristol
Occupation Lawyer

Raja Abdul Aziz bin Raja Addruse (10 February 1936 – 12 July 2011) was a Malaysian lawyer. He served as President of the Bar Council three times and was a commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists. Raja Aziz is considered one of Malaysia's most respected lawyers. He was known among fellow lawyers as "Ungku."

Early life and education[edit]

Raja Aziz Addruse was born in Chemor, Perak on 10 February 1936.[1] He read law at the University of Bristol (from 1954) and was called to the English Bar by Lincoln's Inn in 1960.[1]


Raja Aziz returned to Malaya in 1960 to become a deputy public prosecutor and later Deputy Parliamentary Draftsman.[1] On 8 January 1966, he was admitted to the Malaysian Bar and entered private practice.[1] He served as president of the Bar Council three times between 1976–1978, 1988–1989 and 1992–1993.[2] He was affectionately called "Ungku" by fellow lawyers[1] and has been described as one of Malaysia's most respected lawyers.[2][3][4]

His second tenure as Bar Council president coincided with the 1988 Malaysian constitutional crisis, during which Lord President Salleh Abas was sacked by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. He represented Salleh when the latter was brought before a tribunal on the grounds of misconduct.[1][5]

Raja Aziz was the lead defence counsel in Anwar Ibrahim's corruption and first sodomy trial.[6] He was expected to lead Anwar's defence team for the second sodomy trial, but stepped aside due to ill health.[3]

In May 2006, Raja Aziz was elected as a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists, becoming the third Malaysian to hold the position.[7]

He was also a counsel for former Communist Party of Malaya leader Chin Peng during the latter's 2009 bid to return to Malaysia.[6]

Raja Aziz represented Sultan Ismail Petra who challenged his removal from the Kelantan throne in 2010.[6]


Raja Aziz strongly backed Salleh Abas after the latter was sacked as Lord President. He refused to appear in the Supreme Court (now the Federal Court) during the term of Salleh's successor, Abdul Hamid Omar.[1] In 2001, he criticised the appointment of Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim as Chief Judge of Malaya when a more senior member of the Federal Court was passed over.[1]

At the Malaysian Law Conference in October 2007, he said: "Fundamental liberties no longer exist; this is a harsh thing to say but the courts don’t seem to think that fundamental rights are important. To me, the constitution now means nothing because it can be changed at any time."[1][4]

Raja Aziz criticised Pakatan Rakyat for trying to disrupt the formation of a new state government during the 2009 Perak constitutional crisis, asking it to refer the matter to the courts (which it eventually did).[8] He also called on Barisan Nasional supporters to respect Pakatan's right to challenge the Sultan of Perak's decision not to dissolve the state assembly in court.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Raja Aziz was married to Catherine and had two daughters.[1]


Raja Aziz died at his home in Kuala Lumpur on 12 July 2011 from cancer.[3] He was buried at Bukit Kiara Muslim cemetery the following day.[2] Anwar Ibrahim attended the funeral.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Tan, Roger (13 July 2011). "A gentleman who believed in honesty and fair play". The Star. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Bernama (12 July 2011). "Veteran lawyer Raja Aziz Addruse dies". The Star. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c S Putra (12 July 2011). "Ex-Bar Council president Raja Aziz dies". Free Malaysia Today. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Chi, Melissa (12 July 2011). "Top lawyer Raja Aziz Addruse dies at 74". The Malaysian Insider. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "The turning point". The Star. 21 October 2007. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c "Raja Aziz dies at 74". The Star. 13 July 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  7. ^ "Raja Aziz elected into ICJ". The Star. 5 May 2006. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Raja Aziz Addruse (2009). "It all boils down to our constitutional rights". New Straits Times. Retrieved 13 July 2011.  (at FindArticles.com)
  9. ^ Chong, Debra (13 July 2011). "Raja Aziz Addruse, human rights fighter, laid to rest". The Malaysian Insider. Retrieved 13 July 2011.