On 23 February 2018, AmerBON’s Pupil-in-Chambers, Mr Michael Cheah Ern Tien, was called to the Bar before YA Dato’ Lim Chong Fong at the High Court of Michael’s hometown of Penang. Present at the occasion was Michael’s Master, Mr Edmund Bon Tai Soon, while Michael’s mover, Ms Petra Onn Beng Ai, delivered a speech.

Mr. Edmund Bon Tai Soon (Michael's Master), Mr. Michael Cheah & Ms. Petra Onn Beng Ai (Michael's Mover).
(L-R) Edmund (Michael’s Master), Michael and Petra (mover)
Michael Cheah
Michael Cheah, Advocate and Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya
Ms. Petra Onn Beng Ai (Michael’s Mover), Mr. Edmund Bon Tai Soon (Michael’s Master) & Mr. Michael Cheah.
(Standing L-R) Petra, Edmund, Michael, and others

Petra’s speech is reproduced here:

Dengan izin Yang Arif,

Saya, Petra Oon Beng Ai, hadir bagi pihak Pempetisyen Michael Cheah Ern Tien pada hari ini. Rakan-rakan bijaksana saya yang masing-masing mewakili Yang Berbahagia Peguam Negara Malaysia, Majlis Peguam Malaysia dan Jawatankuasa Peguam Pulau Pinang yang telah pun diperkenalkan awal tadi.

Dengan izin Yang Arif,

Saya ingin memohon kebenaran Yang Arif untuk meneruskan hujahan saya dalam Bahasa Inggeris.

May it please your Lordship,

The Petitioner, Michael Cheah Ern Tien.

On a lovely 6 November 1993, a young working couple in Singapore, Mr Cheah and Mdm Lee were gifted with a baby boy – the Petitioner. A few years down the road, the Petitioner’s parents saw how lonely he was and gave birth to his younger brother, Matthew Cheah. The two of them with their combined forces went on to terrorise the household and the world at large.

The Petitioner attended SK Batu Lanchang and was on course to join Penang Free School for his secondary education. However, he attended St Xavier’s Institution instead which he emphasises was the best times of his life and had no regrets about it.

The Petitioner when growing up as a child and throughout his formative years, had a heart for the last, the lost and the least, and wanted to have a career in line with that. However, like most teenage boys, he was lost after his secondary education.

The Petitioner was convinced by a fellow classmate to read law in Form Five. He was given the impression that being a lawyer would make good money. Clouded by that fact, he pursued it.

Fast forward to 2015, the Petitioner graduated with a law degree from the University of Leeds with a Second Class Honours Upper Division and obtained his Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP) the year after. His fellow classmate who convinced him to read law, fortunately or unfortunately, went on to study engineering instead.

The Petitioner commenced his pupillage in the chambers of AmerBON, Advocates under the tutelage of Edmund Bon Tai Soon. However, his journey with his Pupil Master and the firm in fact started in 2014 after the second year of his law degree during the inception of the firm (then called BON, Advocates), and subsequently from 2015 to 2016 throughout his CLP studies.

It was during his time at the firm and through the work he was given did he realise that the law could be used to make a difference in the lives of others and ensure justice for all. Everything fell in place, the Petitioner found his real reason for reading law and it tied up with what he intended to do from a young age.

On this day of admission, the Petitioner would like to first and foremost thank the Almighty God for the all the blessings he has showered on the Petitioner and his family, and for constantly being there with him through the ups and downs of life.

Secondly and of course, the Petitioner expresses his utmost gratitude to his family. To his parents, no words can express how thankful he is for their endless love, support, and sacrifice to ensure that the Petitioner is who he is today. To his grandparents, he is eternally grateful to them for taking care of him and his brother whilst his parents worked hard to support the family – they have been instrumental in the Petitioner and his brother’s achievements; they cared, and loved the family unconditionally. The Petitioner would have loved for his late paternal grandfather to be here today – he would have made him proud. To his brother, the Petitioner would like to thank him for his presence throughout all the years and impress on him that he will always have his back no matter what. The Petitioner wishes him all the best in his further studies in New Zealand.

The Petitioner would like to thank his Pupil Master, Edmund Bon Tai Soon for the guidance and opportunities given to him throughout his pupillage and time at the firm. The Petitioner respects the work he does and his cause in advocating for human rights. The Petitioner specifically recalls his advice to memorise Section 42(1)(a) of the Legal Profession Act 1976 – i.e. to act without fear or favour – that is something which he will carry with him throughout his legal career and strife to do. He would further like to thank him for taking his time to come to Penang to be with the Petitioner on this very special day.

The Petitioner is grateful to Amer Hamzah for allowing him to undergo his pupillage at the firm. Amer has always been kind to guide and advice the Petitioner in the matters which he had the opportunity to assist him with.

The Petitioner would like to thank all his friends from school, university, work, Lasallian circle, and BERSIH for their constant support and blessing. Further to that, he would like to specially thank Deborah Yaw for being there from the beginning of this legal adventure.

To everyone past and present at the firm, the Petitioner thanks each and every one for the interesting ride.

Today is indeed a rare occasion my Lord, the Petitioner is an old Xaverian, having his petition moved by an old Georgian, before an old Free. Every Penangite would know the tense rivalry between these three schools – but I hope that would not deter the Petitioner from being admitted to the bar.

My Lord, I believe that the Petitioner is a fit and proper person to be admitted and enrolled as an Advocate and Solicitor of this Honourable Court. I believe all the Petitioner’s papers are in order and that my learned friends from the Attorney General’s Chambers, the Bar Council and the Penang Bar Committee respectively have no objections to this motion.

I humbly move this Honourable Court to admit and enrol the Petitioner, Michael Cheah Ern Tien as an Advocate and Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya.