VETERAN criminal lawyer Subhas Anandan yesterday had a bursary named after him.

Appropriately, the Yellow Ribbon Fund Subhas Anandan Star Bursary Award will provide former convicts financial help to sponsor their studies.

About $100,000 has been raised so far for the initiative spearheaded by the Association of Muslim Lawyers and administered by the Yellow Ribbon Fund, which helps reintegrate former offenders.

The guest of honour at the event, Law Minister K. Shanmugam, praised the 66-year-old Mr Subhas, a long-time champion of pro-bono work, for the role he has played in Singapore's legal scene. "No matter what the crime... Subhas will represent the accused and make sure the case is put forward fairly and ably," he said. "By displaying compassion for the accused, and faith in (his) reformation, Subhas sets an example for all lawyers."

Mr Subhas - known for handling a series of high-profile cases such as those involving convicted murderers Took Leng How, Anthony Ler and Leong Siew Chor since being called to the Bar in 1971 - took six months off this year because of health issues, before returning to work in June.

In his speech, he thanked family and friends for their support and encouragement when he was diagnosed with heart and kidney failures at the turn of the year. He said the tribute was an honour. "It is even more prestigious for me, because it is (by) the Association of Muslim Lawyers for a non- Muslim like me," said the Hindu.

The association's president, lawyer Noor Mohamed Marican, said the fund was a "fitting way to pay tribute" to Mr Subhas, who is also president of the Association of Criminal Lawyers of Singapore.

Added Mr Marican: "It is important to encourage ex-inmates to go back to school and pursue their dreams. Through this fund, we aim to make their journey as painless as possible by removing the financial barrier."

The selection process will start next year. Inmates who are due for release soon or those who completed their jail terms not more than two years ago can apply.