"Although the campaign is largely funded by the Bar Council, we have received funding from the Malaysian public, the Prime Minister's Department, and the Sarawak, Kedah and Selangor state governments," Mahaletchumi said in a press conference at the Bar Council office in Kuala Lumpur today.
It was held in relation to a police report lodged by 1Malaysia Youth Graduands Club against the distribution of the brochures because they were alleged to contain seditious material against the federal constitution.
Its secretary-general Ezaruddin Abdul Rahman was quoted by Bernama as saying: "We also believe that the brochures were sponsored by an anti-government foreign non-governmental organisations."
Ezaruddin also claimed that said the brochures titled PerlembagaanKu (MyConstitution), claimed that the people could amend the federal constitution if they voted for members of Parliament who had the intention of doing so.
Mahaletchumi countered that amendments to the constitution is provided for in the constitution, which is where the information in the brochures comes from.
"The constitution has been amended 40 times. And there have been 650 individual amendments. So amendments are possible and have taken place before," she said.
Co-deputy chairperson Syahredzan Johan explained that the constitution can only be amended by a two-thirds majority in Parliament.
"Amendments can only be done by MPs. We are not MPs, so we cannot change it. This clearly shows that they (1Malaysia Youth Graduands Club) do not understand the constitution," Syahredzan said.
He also urged the club to come forward and seek clarification from the bar as they have clearly misunderstood the objective of the campaign.
"This is a campaign to educate the public so that they will appreciate the constitution, not to hate it. Where is the seditious content? When did we ever say we want to change the constitution?"
No ulterior motive
Bar Council president K Ragunath (right) voiced his disappointment because the campaign's objective is only to educate the public.
"The committee does not take a position but merely interprets the constitution so that the public can understand its content," he said.
Former Bar Council president Sulaiman Abdullah concurred and stressed that the committee does not have an ulterior motive.
"Our mission to demystify the constitution," he said.
90,000 booklets had been distributed nationwide and booklets in Mandarin and Tamil are expected to come out in October.
Five titles - 'What is the Federal Constitution?', 'Constitutional Institutions and the Separation of Powers', 'Federal- State Relationship', 'Parliament/Legislative' and 'Government/Executive' have been released since.
On Malaysia Day (Sept 16), the Bar Council will launch the sixth guide, which is on the judiciary, at Bangsar.
Senior members of each arm of government have graced the campaign, notably Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia (left); Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum; and Koh Tsu Koon, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of integration and national unity.
The event was also launched by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Liew Vui Keong on Nov 13 last year.
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is the patron to 1Malaysia Youth Graduands Club which was established on Nov 10 last year.