Mohamed Elyas Majeed (28/07/1934 – 07/10/1999)

The late Mr Elyas Majeed as he was popularly known was born in India on 28th July 1934 into a family of textile merchant, S.A.Majeed. He had his Primary education in India followed with secondary education in Singapore. He then proceeded to London where he was admitted to the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn to read law. Having qualified as a Barrister-at-law he returned to Singapore where he read in chambers and was called to the Singapore Bar in 1963. Subsequently he was admitted as an advocate and solicitor of the High Court of Malaya on 17th November 1963.

He started his law practice as a legal assistant with the then well known firm of Wong & Paramjothy at Batu Pahat. A couple of years later he started his own practice of Elyas Majeed & Co. If I am not wrong he is the first Tamil Muslim to start practising law in the State of Johore.

He had a very lucrative criminal practice as well as civil practice throughout the State of Johore. The late Elyas Majeed was not only interested in law but was also an ardent lover of music, especially Indian classical music. His knowledge in Tamil was astounding.

My association with him began more than three and a half decades ago. I had prepared an agreement, which became the subject matter of litigation between the parties. The late Mr Elyas Majeed acted for one and the other party was represented by Mr V.C.George (as he then was) who later scaled the heights of the judicial ladder. The late Mr Elyas Majeed lost the case and when he met me he told me he lost the case because the agreement was prepared in such a way which did not reflect the true intention of the parties. That was the end of the matter. He did not harbour any animosity or grudge against me. We remained good friends.

The former Johore Bar Committee Chairman Mr P K Nathan joined the firm of Elyas Majeed as a legal assistant for a brief period. The former Bar Council President, Mr S.Theivanthiran too had practiced as a legal assistant with the late Mr Elyas Majeed for a couple of years before the latter moved to Ipoh, Perak. Another senior member, Mr C.C.Aiyathurai, too had worked with the late Mr Elyas Majeed as a legal assistant. Today all these gentlemen are heavy weights in the legal profession.

The late Mr Elyas Majeed was a simple man with a simple taste in life. He had friends but not foes both within the legal fraternity and outside. The number of clients who flocked to see him at the height of his legal practice was amazing. He showed sympathy and courtesy to every one.

When in court, his conduct was impeccable. It was indeed a pleasure to watch him conducting cases. He would not have any harsh word for anyone. He was sharp, alert and go to the point very quickly. His attitude and approach to Court is one, which I hope, the new generation of lawyers would adopt. In his last years, he had been quietly practising at the Bar in Johor Bahru.

Mr Elyas Majeed passed away at the age of 65 leaving behind his beloved wife, 4 sons, 3 daughters, 3 daughters-in-law and 3 grandchildren.

by K Sila Dass

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