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Malaysian Bar: It's Struggles and Ambitions

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These set of slides are prepared for a presentation at the 4th Biennial Lecture of the Law Society of Singapore on 13.09.2013

These set of slides are prepared for a presentation at the 4th Biennial Lecture of the Law Society of Singapore on 13.09.2013


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  • 1. Christopher Leong President Malaysian Bar NO FEAR . NO FAVOUR
  • 2. The Role of Bar Associations in Society Does the constitution or statutory provision define the role of the Bar, or does the role of the Bar determine its constitution or statutory provision?
  • 3. UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (September 1990) International Instruments Universal Declaration of the Independence of Justice Montreal Declaration (1983)
  • 4. General Functions of Bar Associations The Role of Bar Associations in Society Regulatory Role for the Profession Disciplinary Role Membership Interest & Welfare Public Interest Role Form Affiliations or Collaborations with Other Organisations
  • 5. UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers The Role of Bar Associations in Society Whereas adequate protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms to which all persons are entitled, be they economic, social and cultural, or civil and political, requires that all persons have effective access to legal services provided by an independent legal profession Whereas professional associations of lawyers have a vital role to play in upholding professional standards and ethics, protecting their members from persecution and improper restrictions and infringements, providing legal services to all in need of them, and cooperating with governmental and other institutions in furthering the ends of justice and public interest
  • 6. UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers The Role of Bar Associations in Society 4. Governments and professional associations of lawyers shall promote programmes to inform the public about their rights and duties under the law and the important role of lawyers in protecting their fundamental freedoms. Special attention should be given to assisting the poor and other disadvantaged persons so as to enable them to assert their rights and where necessary call upon the assistance of lawyers. 9. Governments, professional associations of lawyers and educational institutions shall ensure that lawyers have appropriate education and training and be made aware of the ideals and ethical duties of the lawyer and of human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized by national and international law. 14. Lawyers, in protecting the rights of their clients and in promoting the cause of justice, shall seek to uphold human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized by national and international law and shall at all times act freely and diligently in accordance with the law and recognized standards and ethics of the legal profession.
  • 7. UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers The Role of Bar Associations in Society 23. Lawyers like other citizens are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly. In particular, they shall have the right to take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice and the promotion and protection of human rights and to join or form local, national or international organizations and attend their meetings, without suffering professional restrictions by reason of their lawful action or their membership in a lawful organization. In exercising these rights, lawyers shall always conduct themselves in accordance with the law and the recognized standards and ethics of the legal profession. 24. Lawyers shall be entitled to form and join self‐governing professional associations to represent their interests, promote their continuing education and training and protect their professional integrity. The executive body of the professional associations shall be elected by its members and shall exercise its functions without external interference.
  • 8. Universal Declaration of the Independence of Justice (Montreal Declaration) The Role of Bar Associations in Society General Principles 3.02 The legal profession is one of the institutions referred to in the preamble to this declaration. Its independence constitutes an essential guarantee for the promotion and protection of human rights.
  • 9. Universal Declaration of the Independence of Justice (Montreal Declaration) The Role of Bar Associations in Society Legal Education and Entry into the Legal Profession 3.20 Lawyers shall enjoy freedom of belief, expression, association and assembly; and in particular they shall have the right to: a) take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law and the administration of justice b) join or form local, national and international organizations c) promote and recommend well-considered law reforms in the public interest and inform the public about such matters, and d) take full and active part in the political, social and cultural life of their country. Legal Services for the Poor 3.22 It is a necessary corollary of the concept of an independent bar, that its members shall make their services available to all sectors of society, so that no one may be denied justice, and shall promote the cause of justice by protecting the human rights, economic, social and cultural, as well as civil and political, of individuals and groups.
  • 10. Universal Declaration of the Independence of Justice (Montreal Declaration) The Role of Bar Associations in Society The Bar Association 3.25 There shall be established in each jurisdiction one or more independent and self-governing associations of lawyers recognized in law, whose council or other executive body shall be freely elected by all the members without interference of any kind by any other body or person. This shall be without prejudice to their right to form or join, in addition, other professional associations of lawyers and jurists.
  • 11. Universal Declaration of the Independence of Justice The Role of Bar Associations in Society Function of the Bar Association 3.27 The functions of a Bar Association in ensuring the independence of the legal profession shall be inter alia: a) to promote and uphold the cause of justice, without fear or favour; b) to maintain the honour, dignity, integrity, competence, ethics, standards of conduct and discipline of the profession; c) to defend the role of lawyers in society and preserve the independence of the profession; d) to protect and defend the dignity and independence of the judiciary; e) to promote the free and equal access of the public to the system of justice, including the provision of legal aid and advice; f) to promote the right of everyone to a fair and public hearing before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal, and in accordance with proper procedures in all matters;
  • 12. Universal Declaration of the Independence of Justice The Role of Bar Associations in Society Function of the Bar Association g) to promote and support law reform, and to comment upon and promote public discussion on the substance, interpretation and application of existing and proposed legislation; h) to promote a high standard of legal education as a prerequisite for entry into the profession; i) to ensure that there is free access to the profession for all persons having the requisite professional competence and good character, without discrimination of any kind, and to give assistance to new entrants into the profession; j) to promote the welfare of members of the profession and render assistance to a member of his family in appropriate cases; k) to affiliate with, and participate in, the activities of international organizations of lawyers.
  • 13. Common Thread on Role of Lawyers and Bar Associations in Society The Role of Bar Associations in Society  Promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms  Upholding cause of justice  Defending independence of the judiciary and the Bar  Providing legal aid and services to the poor  To examine and comment on legislation  To promote and support law reform  Collaboration with other persons and organisations
  • 14. Absit Invidia (INSAF, October 1969) The Role of Bar Associations in Society …the Legal Profession, it has an inherent duty to comment impartially on matters of public importance and interest, especially on those executive actions and decisions which invade and infringe the individual and collective rights of the citizen. The Legal Profession’s traditional role has been and still is, to uphold and preserve the Rule of Law and in discharging this central function without fear or favour it has come to be regarded as the sentinel and guardian of the fundamental rights of the individual. The declaration of emergency and its continuation has brought with it a plethora of “essential regulations and orders” promulgated in a manner contrary to the spirit of the Federal Constitution and possibly, violative of the fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Constitution. “Grave dangers are present in the current procedures for law making”. The Bar Council would have failed in its intellectual and moral duty if it did not inform the general public of the constitutional and legal issues involved.
  • 15. The Role of Bar Associations in Society Why do lawyers and Bar associations have these roles in society? 1. The role of the rule of law & law in society and government 2. Special training and abilities of lawyers in law 3. Lawyers are integral to and equal partners in administration of justice 4. Public trust and expectations
  • 16. The Role of Bar Associations in Society Speech by Lord Steyn (13th October 1998) “It is to the judiciary that the citizen must look for protection from abuses by the Executive and for a vindication of his right against the state. But without an independent Bar, and the jury system, the Judiciary would be unequal in its task. Together the Bar, the Judiciary and the Jury is a guarantee of the quality of our democracy. For my part I regard a highly qualified, independent and courageous Bar as of central importance in our system.”
  • 17. The Role of Bar Associations in Society The Indian Supreme Court in Gupta v President of India AIR 1982 SC 149 “The profession of lawyers is an essential and integral part of the judicial system and lawyers may figuratively be described as priests in the temple of justice……They have, therefore, a special interest in preserving the integrity and independence of the judicial system and if the integrity of independence of the judiciary is threatened by any act of the state or any public authority, they would naturally be concerned about it, because they are equal partners with the judges in the administration of justice.”
  • 18. The SUN article “Without Fear or Favour” (24th October 1996) Public Survey on the Role of the Bar YES NO Do you know what the Bar Council is? 57% 43% Do you think Malaysian lawyers have fought for justice? 41% 59% Should lawyers comment on government policies? 82% 12% Should lawyers be controlled by the government? 28% 72% NO FEAR . NO FAVOUR
  • 19. The Malaysian Bar Experience
  • 20. CHAIRMEN: REPRESENTATIVES: Malaysian Bar & Bar Council MEMBERS: BC MEMBERS: MEMBERS: 2 12 12 38 12 15,191 4,800 Bar Membership Firms @02.08.2013 Manage affairs and execute functions of Malaysian Bar elected throughout Peninsular Malaysia (via national ballots) of State Bar Committees elected to represent State Bar Committee Immediate Past President and VP The Malaysian Bar is a creature of statute: Legal Profession Act 1976
  • 21. LEGAL PROFESSION ACT 1976 Objects of the Bar: Public Role (1/2) s42 (1) The purpose of the Malaysian Bar shall be – (a) to uphold the cause of justice without regard to its own interests or that of its members, uninfluenced by fear or favour; (d) where requested to do so, to express its view on matters affecting legislation and the administration and practice of the law in Malaysia; (g) to protect and assist the public in all matters touching ancillary or incidental to the law (h) to make provision for or assist in the promotion of a scheme whereby impecunious persons may be represented by advocates and solicitors;
  • 22. LEGAL PROFESSION ACT 1976 Objects of the Bar: Public Role (2/2) s42 (1) The purpose of the Malaysian Bar shall be – (j) to grant pecuniary or other assistance to any association, institute, board or society in Malaysia in the interest of the legal profession or of the law students; (l) to promote good relations and social intercourse amongst members and between members and other persons concerned in the administration of law and justice in Malaysia; (m) to encourage, establish and maintain good relations with professional bodies of the legal profession in other countries and to participate in the activities of any local or international association and become a member thereof;
  • 23. The Role of Bar Associations in Society The Malaysian Federal Court in Lee Kwan Woh v Public Prosecutor [2009] 5 MLJ 301 “In the second place, the Constitution is a document sui generis governed by interpretive principles of its own. In the forefront of these is the principle that its provisions should be interpreted generously and liberally. On no account should a literal construction be played on its language, particularly upon those provisions that guarantee to individuals the protection of fundamental rights. In our view, it is the duty of a court to adopt a prismatic approach when interpreting the fundamental rights guaranteed under Part II of the Constitution. When light passes through a prism it reveals its constituent colours. In the same way, the prismatic interpretive approach will reveal to the court the rights submerged in the concepts employed by the several provisions under Part II. Indeed the prismatic interpretation of the Constitution gives life to abstract concepts such as ‘life’ and ‘personal liberty’ in art 5(1).”
  • 24. The Role of Bar Associations in Society The Malaysian Federal Court in Lee Kwan Woh v Public Prosecutor [2009] 5 MLJ 301 “In the second place, the Constitution is a document sui generis governed by interpretive principles of its own. In the forefront of these is the principle that its provisions should be interpreted generously and liberally. On no account should a literal construction be played on its language, particularly upon those provisions that guarantee to individuals the protection of fundamental rights. In our view, it is the duty of a court to adopt a prismatic approach when interpreting the fundamental rights guaranteed under Part II of the Constitution. When light passes through a prism it reveals its constituent colours. In the same way, the prismatic interpretive approach will reveal to the court the rights submerged in the concepts employed by the several provisions under Part II. Indeed the prismatic interpretation of the Constitution gives life to abstract concepts such as ‘life’ and ‘personal liberty’ in art 5(1).”
  • 25. Public Role of the Bar The Malaysian Bar has for decades been at the forefront of defending the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession, the Federal Constitution, fundamental liberties, promoting law reform and legal aid for the poor
  • 26. Committees of the Bar Council Public Role of the Bar Public Interest Human Rights Committee Constitutional Law Committee National Legal Aid Committee Migrants, Refugees & Immigration Affairs Committee Committee on Orang Asli Rights Environment & Climate Change Committee Task Force on Corruption Safer Malaysia Committee Committee on Judicial Matters Criminal Law Committee
  • 27. Public Interest Role & Activities Rule of Law & Human Rights Fact-Finding / Royal Commissions Collaboration Access to Justice Law Reform
  • 28. 1976 1977 1978 1979 1984 1985 1990 19951980 1981 1982 1983 1976 S42(1)(h)LPA to make provision for or to assist in the promotion of a scheme whereby impecunious persons may be representedby adviocates and solicitors 1982 A group of lawyers in KL set up legal aid office in a small roomin the Industrial Court (free rental) with a RM34,000 grant fromthe Asia Foundation 1995 Malaysian Bar passed a resolution requiring every practicing lawyer to take up at least one legal aid case peryear 1980-1982 A group of lawyers, paralegals and university lecturers formed the Penang Legal Advisory Centre Operating out of a community library and coffee-shop First office was a dilapidated wooden shack by the main road History of Legal Aid in Malaysia 1978-1980 Electronic industry in Penang attracted influx of workers from rural areas of Penang and Kedah No workers union and workers related problems to social workers and villagechiefs Social workers appealedto Penang lawyers for assistance 1983 Legal Aid Scheme born Pupil / Chambering students have to fulfil at least 14 days 'service' at Legal Aid Cantre during pupillage tenure Access to Justice – Legal Aid
  • 29. Justice: Through Law The Malaysian Bar Legal Aid Access to Justice
  • 30. Access to Justice 2007: 18,894 2008: 26,527 2009: 27,318 2010: 21,572 2011: 24,562 2012: 21, 381 No of cases handled: 15 BCLACs in Peninsular Malaysia Annual Budget: RM1.3 million No. of Volunteer Lawyers: 1,300 Cases Handled (2007 – 2012): 140,254
  • 31. Justice: Through Law BC proposed to the Government of Malaysia to set up NLAF National Legal Aid Foundation (NLAF) 2009 Proposal revisited in January2010 NLAF launched by PM on 25 February 20112011 78,106 cases handledApr 2012 – April 2013 Out of 108,000 criminal cases heard in Magistrate Courts in Malaysia, 80% of the defendants were unrepresented 2008
  • 32. 2011Launched by PM of Malaysia (25 Feb 2011) registered YBGK lawyers @ July 2013 896 National Legal Aid Foundation Board of Directors: Attorney General (Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail) - Chairman Bar Council President (Christopher Leong) Secretary General of Treasury (Dato’ Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah) Director General of Legal Affairs Division (Dato' Haji Ismail b Ibrahim) Director General of Social Welfare Department (Dato’ Norani bt M Hashim) Director General of Legal Aid Department (Siti Zawahir bt Mohammed) President of the Sabah Law Association (Datuk G.B.B Nandy @ Gaanesh) President of the Sarawak Advocates Association (Khairil Azmi Hj Mohamad Hasbie) President of Syarie Lawyers Association (Musa bin Awang) Dean of the Faculty of Law in Public Learning Institution (Prof. Dr. Aishah Bidin) Representatives from the NGOs appointed by the Minister
  • 33. Community Legal Aid & Committee on Orang Asli Rights (COAR) Legal Aid & Orang Asli Committees First Legal Aid Centre for Orang Asli in Tapah (21st July 1996) COAR Visit to Kg Pantos, Kuala Lipis, Pahang (2012)
  • 34. Bar Council COAR Activities Committee on Orang Asli Rights (COAR) COAR Visit to Kuala Koh, Kelantan (16th November 2011)
  • 35. Bar Council COAR Activities Committee on Orang Asli Rights (COAR) Seminar on The Struggles of the Orang Asli & Other Minorities in Malaysia in conjunction with Human Rights Day (December 2012) World Indigenous Day Celebrations at Bar Council (2012)
  • 36. 1998 The Anwar Ibrahim Reformasi Trials EGM Resolution: 10th Oct 1998 The Bar unanimously condemned the ISA characterizing detention without trial as “obnoxious” and an assault upon “fundamental human rights, basic democratic principles and the rule of law.” Mass trials of 177 and 132 defendants, fixed for 3 months on the trot, volunteer lawyers of whom 95% were civil lawyers, 2 days crash course on criminal trials and voir dire. Obtained 99% acquittals – 4 out of 309 convicted. NO FEAR . NO FAVOUR
  • 37. The 1998 Reformasi Trials 1999 AGM: Zainur Zakaria Contempt S42 (1) (a) to uphold the cause of justice without regard to its own interests or that of its members, uninfluenced by fear or favour Rule 16 Legal Profession (Practice and Etiquette) Rules 1978…”an advocate and solicitor shall while acting with all due courtesy to the tribunal before which he is appearing, fearlessly uphold the interest of his client, the interest of justice and dignity of the profession without regard to any unpleasant consequences either to himself or to any other person.” The Bar vigorously defended senior counsel and former President of the Bar, castigating the court and government for “misuse of contempt powers” to silence lawyers for simply doing their professional advocacy duty fearlessly and in accordance with both their statutory obligations under the LPA and international norms. Zainur Zakaria’s conviction for contempt of Court and sentence of 3 months’ imprisonment was quashed by the Federal Court on 27th June 2001. NO FEAR . NO FAVOUR
  • 38. Law Reform Repealed / Amended in 2012 Internal Security Act 1960 Restricted Residence Act 1933 Banishment Act 1959 S27 Police Act 1967 Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 Sedition Act 1948 (to be repealed & replaced by National Harmony Act) Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 – collaborated and protested Judicial Appointment Commission Act 2009
  • 39. Law Reform Coroner’s Court Companies Bill LGBT Law Reform Commission Repeal of Mandatory Death Penalty Amendments to the Indigenous People’s Act
  • 40. Law Reform 7 UN Conventions Not Ratified The International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights (ICESCR) The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (MWC) The United Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees 1951 The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) Rome Statute Universal Periodic Review - Switzerland
  • 41. Public Interest Hearings: Royal Commissions of Inquiry Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation & Management of the Royal Malaysia Police (May 2005) Composition of the Panel Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin bin Hj Abdullah – Chairman Tun Mohammed Haniff bin Omar Datuk Dr. Muhammad Rais bin Abdul Karim Tun Mohd Salleh bin Abas Datuk A. Kadir bin Jasin Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Azizan bin Zainul Abidin (passed away on 14 July 2004) Dato’ Dr Michael Yeoh Onn Kheng Tan Sri Dato’ Lim Ah Lek Dato’ Kamilia bt Dato’ Ibrahim Tan Sri Dato’ Lee Lam Thye Dato’ Hj Kuthubul Zaman bin Bukhari Tan Sri Datuk Zaki bin Tun Azmi Dr Denison Jayasooria Datin Paduka Zaleha bt Zahari Ivy N. Josiah Tunku Abdul Aziz bin Tunku Ibrahim Dato’ Hamzah bin Md Raus (Secretary) RCI was constituted by the Yang DiPertuan Agong on 04 February 2004 Report published on May 2005
  • 42. Royal Commissions of Inquiry Commission of Enquiry of the Video Clip Recording of Images of a Person Purported to be an Advocate & Solicitor speaking on the Telephone on matters Regarding the Appointment of Judges (May 2008) RCI was constituted by the Yang DiPertuan Agong on 12 December 2007 Report published on May 2008 Composition of the Panel Counsel for Malaysian Bar Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Haidar bin Mohamed Noor – Chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Steve Shim Lip Kiong Robert Lazar Dato’ Nmahadev Shankar Dato’ Yeoh Yang Poh Datuk Zainun Zawiyah bt Puteh Ranjit Singh Prof. Emeritus Dato’ Dr Khoo Kay Kim Christopher Leong Dato’ Abdullah Sani bin Ad Hamid Razlan Hadri
  • 43. Royal Commissions of Inquiry Royal Commission of Enquiry into the Death of Teoh Beng Hock (22 June 2011) Composition of the Panel Counsel for Malaysian Bar Tan Sri James Foong Cheng Yuen (FC Judge) – Chairman Christopher Leong Datuk Abdul Kadir Sulaiman (former FC Judge) Nahendran Navaratnam Datuk Selventhiranathan Thiagarajah (former CA Judge) S Sivaneindiren Datuk Dr Bhupinder Singh (Senior Consultant Pathologist – Penang Hospital) Cheow Wee Dr Mohamed Hatta Shaharom (Dean, Medical Faculty – Cyberjaya University College of Medical Science) Robert Low Datuk Saripuddin Kasim (DG, Legal Affairs Div – PM’s Department) Edmund Bon BC produced written submission titled: Royal Commission on Enquiry into the Death of Teoh Beng Hock – 25 May 2011 Royal Commission Report published on 22 June 2011
  • 44. Malaysian Bar NO FEAR . NO FAVOUR
  • 45. 1981 The Society Act 1966 (Amendment 1981) Protests NO FEAR . NO FAVOUR
  • 46. 1981 The Society Act 1966 (Amendment 1981) Protests NO FEAR . NO FAVOUR
  • 47. The Lingam Tape & Walk for Justice 2007
  • 48. The Lingam Tape & Walk for Justice 2007
  • 49. Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 & Walk for Freedom 2011
  • 50. Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 & Walk for Freedom 2011
  • 51. Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 & Walk for Freedom 2011
  • 52. "History is full of civil disobedience and events, which have led to changes for the better in the country... Processions or assemblies in motion are very much deep in the history of Malaysia ... which is why we urge the government — do not, with the stroke of the pen, strike back against the very foundation of this nation," - Lim Chee Wee, Immediate Past-President, Malaysian Bar Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 & Walk for Freedom 2011
  • 53. BERSIH 3.0 Rally (28.04.2012): BC Monitors
  • 54. BERSIH 3.0 Rally (28.04.2012): BC Monitors
  • 55. BERSIH 3.0 Rally (28.04.2012): BC Monitors
  • 56. BERSIH 3.0 Rally (28.04.2012): BC Monitors
  • 57. Rule of Law 508 Rally (08.05.2013) Observation by Malaysian Bar Monitors
  • 58. Rule of Law 508 Rally (08.05.2013) Observation by Malaysian Bar Monitors
  • 59. Rule of Law “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke
  • 60. Rule of Law “We are walking for justice……Lawyers don’t walk everyday, they don’t walk every month or every year. This is the third time lawyers are walking. When lawyers walk something is wrong. When lawyers walk it means that we would like to see change.” Ambiga Sreenevasan, Walk for Justice, 2007
  • 61. Malaysian Legal Practice Does the constitution or statutory provision define the role of the Bar, or does the role of the Bar determine the constitution or statutory provision? - Professional self-determination
  • 62. 08th Feb 1958  Protested and condemned preliminary inquiry in camera  Undesirable that anything savouring of “secret courts” or “secret proceedings” should exist  Practice was immediately discontinued 26th Oct 1958  Protested against Public Order (Preservation) Bill  Gist of protest being extensive powers given even to junior police officers  The Bill was nevertheless passed but BC reserving the right to write to the draughtsman on possible abuses 22nd July 1965  EGM to protest against Court of Judicature (Amendment) Bill to limit the rights of appeal to the Privy Council  Bill never got through Second Reading  Matter resurrected in 1968 and the Bar again protested  Bill again was withdrawn  Abolishment of right to appeal to PC was eventually done in stages: 1975, 1978 and 1985 NO FEAR . NO FAVOUR
  • 63. Emergency Ordinance 1969  The Bar published a masterfully written commentary entitled “The Constitution, Parliamentary Democracy and The Emergency” by Past President of the Bar, Raja Aziz Addruse, in it’s July 1969 Edition of INSAF (a Bar Council periodical)  The Bar subsequently received visits and questioning by police from the Special Branch Unit pertaining to the article and protest and criticisms by the government NO FEAR . NO FAVOUR
  • 64. 1975 The Essential (Security Cases) Regulations 1975 (ESCAR) Protests EGM Resolution: 18th Oct 1977 “…all members of the Bar of the States of Malaya be advised not to appear in trials under the Essential (Security Cases) (Amendment) Regulations 1975 whether retained or assigned from henceforth as these Regulations are repressive and against the rule of law – provided that those who have been retained prior to 19th October 1977 may either discharge themselves or refund any fees collected or complete their brief.” NO FEAR . NO FAVOUR
  • 65. INSAF Editorial – Raja Aziz Addruse, October 1969 The Role of Bar Associations in Society …the Legal Profession, it has an inherent duty to comment impartially on matters of public importance and interest, especially on those executive actions and decisions which invade and infringe the individual and collective rights of the citizen. The Legal Profession’s traditional role has been and still is, to uphold and preserve the Rule of Law and in discharging this central function without fear or favour it has come to be regarded as the sentinel and guardian of the fundamental rights of the individual. The declaration of emergency and its continuation has brought with it a plethora of “essential regulations and orders” promulgated in a manner contrary to the spirit of the Federal Constitution and possibly, violative of the fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Constitution. “Grave dangers are present in the current procedures for law making”. The Bar Council would have failed in its intellectual and moral duty if it did not inform the general public of the constitutional and legal issues involved.
  • 66. 1988 Judicial Crisis Tan Sri Wan Hamzah Dato’ George Seah Tan Sri Azmi Hj Kamaruddin Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader Tan Sri Wan Suleiman NO FEAR . NO FAVOUR
  • 67. The Manjeet Singh Contempt Case re: Judicial Crisis 31st May 1989  AG granted leave by Supreme Court for committal proceedings against Secretary of the Bar, Manjeet Singh Dhillon for contempt in relation to an affidavit he had filed on behalf of the Bar in support of the Bar’s application for leave to apply for an order of contempt against the Lord President, Tun Abdul Hamid Omar  The Council’s Secretary was represented by Raja Aziz Addruse, GTS Sidhu, CV Das, Jagjit Singh and Daryl Goon 05th November 1990  Manjeet Singh Dhillon (in his capacity as Secretary of the Bar) was found guilty of contempt by a majority in the Supreme Court (Dato’ Mohamed Yusoff bin Mohamed and Dato’ Gunn Chit Tuan SCJJ; Tan Sri Dato’ Harun Hashim SCJ dissenting) and fined RM5,000 in default 3 months’ imprisonment NO FEAR . NO FAVOUR
  • 68. Collaboration – International Institutions/Bars Panel of Eminent Persons to Review the 1988 Judicial Crisis in Malaysia Composition of the Panel Honourable Mr. Justice J.S. Verma – Chairman (passed away on 22 April 2013) (Former Chief Justice of India) Honourable Mr. Justice Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim Dr. Ms. Asma Jahangir (President of Pakistan Supreme Court Bar & Human Rights Commissioner of Pakistan) Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman (Malaysian Bar) Dr. Gordon Hughes (Former President of Law Council of Australia & LAWASIA) Dato’ W.S.W. (Bill) Davidson (Malaysian Bar) Commissioned by: Malaysian Bar International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute LAWASIA Transparency International - Malaysia Panel commenced work in September 2007 and produced its report dated 26.07.2008: The Panel found that both the Tribunals had no merit and were legally incorrect
  • 69. 1988 Judicial Crisis: An “Apology” by the Malaysian Government 17th April 2008:  Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Hj Ahmad Badawi paid tribute to the six Supreme Court judges who were sacked in 1988 and said, “the Government wanted to recognise their commitment towards upholding justice and to acknowledge the pain and loss they have endured.”  Abdullah also announced goodwill ex-gratia payments to the judges: “I do not presume to equate your contributions, pain and loss with mere currency, but I hope that you could accept this as a heartfelt and sincere gesture to men what has been.” NO FEAR . NO FAVOUR
  • 70. Collaboration - Fact-Finding Missions Fact-Finding Mission to Pakistan: Attack on the Judiciary in Pakistan (15 August 2008) Members of the LAWASIA Fact-Finding Mission Dato’ Mah Weng Kwai (then President of LAWASIA & Former President of Malaysian Bar) Prashant Kumar (Bar Assoc. India) Christopher Leong (Malaysian Bar) Janet Neville (LAWASIA) LAWASIA produced the Report of LAWASIA Fact- Finding Mission to Pakistan (17-21 July 2008) on 15 August 2008 1
  • 71. Collaboration - Fact-Finding Missions The Fiji Military Coup 2006: Abrogation of the Constitution and Removal of Judges Members of the LAWASIA Fact-Finding Mission Dato’ Mah Weng Kwai (then President of LAWASIA & Former President of Malaysian Bar) Dr Gordon Hughes (Former President of Law Council of Australia & LAWASIA) Raoul Guides (Observer from Queensland Law Society) Janet Neville (Secretary General of LAWASIA) Report: Visit to Fiji by LAWASIA Observer Mission (25 – 28 Mar 2007) produced on 12 Apr 2007 2
  • 72. Collaboration – Support for Foreign Bar Attack on the Judiciary in Sri Lanka (12 December 2012) BC issued a letter of support dated 05 March 2013 to the Bar Association of Sri Lanka: The Impeachment Proceedings and Dismissal of Dr Shirani Bandaranayake, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka 3
  • 73. Collaboration & Consultation – Statutory Bodies Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) SUHAKAM Selection Committee Dato Seri Dr Ali Hamsa – Chairman (Chief Secretary to Government) Tan Sri Hasmy Agam – (Chairman of SUHAKAM) Tan Sri Haidar Mohamed Noor (Former Chief Judge of Malaya) Tan Sri Dr Rafiah Salim (Vice Chancellor University of Malaya) Christopher Leong (President of Malaysian Bar) Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999
  • 74. Collaboration Government, Government Agencies, etc Attorney General’s Chambers Malaysia: Working Groups Criminal Law Civil Law Law Reform Liberalisation of Legal Services I-CeLLS: Government think tank for legal research
  • 75. Collaboration & Consultation – Statutory Bodies Members of Judicial Commissioners: Tun Arifin bin Zakaria (Chief Justice of the Federal Court) Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Md Raus bin Sharif (President of the Court of Appeal) Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Zulkefli bin Ahmad Makinudin (Chief Judge of the High Court Malaya) Tan Sri Datuk Panglima Richard Malanjum (Chief Judge of the High Court in Sabah & Sarawak) Tan Sri Abdull Hamid bin Embong (Federal Court Judge) Tan Sri Haidar bin Mohamed Noor (former Chief Judge of Malaya) Datuk Seri Panglima Sulong Matjeraie (former Federal Court Judge) Dato’ Tee Ah Sing @ Tee Boon Hooi Dato’ Selventhiranathan Thiagarajah Judicial Appointment Commission (est. 02 Feb 2009) Judicial Appointments Act 2009: “…the main role of the Commission is to uphold the continuous independence of the judiciary through the selection of superior court judges…”
  • 76. Malaysian Bar receives United Nations Malaysia Organisation of the Year Award 2012
  • 77. “Throughout its 66-year existence, the Malaysian Bar has admirably fulfilled its roll as guardian of the rule of law, and defender of human rights and the public interest, in Malaysia The Malaysian public look towards the Malaysian Bar for guidance on what the law is, what the law should be, and what the law must never be” 66 years Malaysian Bar receives United Nations Malaysia Organisation of the Year Award 2012 - Citation for the Malaysian Bar by the UN
  • 78. Speech by PM Najib Razak (IMLC, 26th September 2012) “Despite the occasional bellicosity and belligerence, both in politics and in the legal profession, which is a part of the cut and thrust of debate and discussion in the public sphere in a free and democratic society, I would like to strongly reiterate my late father’s affirmation of the legal profession. The Malaysian Bar is an important partner in the rule of law and the administration of justice. When it speaks, we listen. We may not always agree with the views emanating from the Malaysian Bar, or even some of the activities that they undertake, but we hear what they say and observe what they do with interest. We may make the occasional joke about lawyers, but they nonetheless have a unique and important role to play in our country.”
  • 79. Presidents of the Bar (1947 – 1980)
  • 80. Presidents of the Bar (1980 – 2000)
  • 81. Presidents of the Bar (2000 – Present)
  • 82. Why is the Malaysian Bar What It Is? The Malaysian Bar is not merely an organisation, it is a movement. When it acts as one the Malaysian Bar is greater than the sum of its parts.
  • 83. Christopher Leong President Malaysian Bar NO FEAR . NO FAVOUR THANK YOU