What we stand for

G25 is committed to pursue a just, democratic, peaceful, tolerant, harmonious, moderate and progressive multi-racial, multi cultural, multi religious Malaysia through Islamic principles of Wassatiyah (moderation) and Maqasid Syariah (well-being of the people) that affirms justice, compassion, mercy, equity.

Malaysia is to be led by rule of law, good governance, respect for human rights and upholding the institution of the country.

We aim to ensure, raise awareness, promote that Syariah laws and civil laws should work in harmony and that the Syariah laws are used within its legal jurisdiction and limits as provided for by the federal and state division of powers.

There should be rational dialogues to inform people on how Islam is used for public law and policy that effects the multi ethnic and multi religious Malaysia and within the confines of the Federal Constitution, the supreme law of the nation.

We work in a consultative committee of experts to advise the government and facilitate amendments to the state Syariah laws, to align to the Federal Constitution and the spirit of Rukun Negara.

It is imperative to achieve a politically stable, economically progressive Malaysia and to be able to enjoy the harmony, tolerance, understanding and cooperation in this multi diverse country.

G25 Statement: Government’s Proposed Amendments to the Legal Profession Act 1976

The G25 wishes to express its deep concern over the Government’s proposal to amend the Legal Profession Act 1976 (LPA), the statute that governs the Malaysian Bar. We understand that the proposed amendments to the LPA are scheduled to be tabled in Parliament in October 2016.

The proposed amendments are in the main, as follows;

  • Government to appoint two members of the Bar to sit on the Bar Council to “represent the government"

  • Stringent quorum requirement for all general meetings of the Malaysian Bar and State Bars to be increased to twenty-five percent (25%) of the membership;

  • A complete overhaul of the process of electing the members of the Bar Council that will drastically reduce the number of candidates whom Members may nominate to the Bar Council;

  • Division of “elected members” of the Bar Council – more than 10 years in practice and less than 10 years in practice;

  • Direct election of Office Bearers without regard to the spread of membership;

  • Disqualification of State Bar Chairs and immediate past Vice-President from election as Office Bearers;

  • The Minister in charge of legal affairs to be empowered to determine the electoral rules and regulations of the Malaysian Bar.

One of the objects of the Malaysian Bar is spelt out in section 42(1) of the LPA and it is –

“to uphold the cause of justice without regard to its own interests or that of its own members uninfluenced by fear or favour;”

The Malaysian Bar, true to its cause, has always been a staunch defender of human rights (fundamental liberties), the Federal Constitution and the rule of law. It has never proposed such amendments. The amendments are drastic and are a serious assault on the independence of the Bar and the Malaysian legal profession. Indeed, it would adversely affect the legal standing of the Malaysian legal profession.

The proposed amendments would interfere with, or impede, the internal management and self-regulation of the Bar. For example, the rules and regulations for the conduct of elections in the Malaysian Bar are prescribed by the LPA. It is untenable that a member of the Federal Cabinet could be reposed with the power of determining the manner in which the Bar’s elections are to be conducted. This is tantamount to blatant Government interference in the affairs of an independent Bar. Such interference cannot be tolerated.

The G25 believes that an independent Bar is fundamental to the administration of justice. Any attempt to impose Government control and to undermine the independence of the Bar must be seen as an attack on the rule of law and must not be condoned. We are deeply concerned that the proposed amendments to the LPA can be seen as part of the Government’s recent series of actions to undermine democracy, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.

The G25 views the proposed amendments as a violation of international standards concerning the regulation of legal professions as prescribed by the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, Havana, Cuba, 1990.

Paragraph 24 states:

“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 function without external interference.”

The G25 is further concerned that the erosion of the independence of the Bar will create negative perceptions to foreign investors about the independence and integrity of the Malaysian legal system. Such a negative perception will make Malaysia less attractive as an investment destination.

The Bar Council has announced that it is vehemently opposed to the proposed amendments. The G25 strongly and wholeheartedly supports the stand of the Bar Council in its opposition to the proposed amendments.

We, therefore, respectfully urge the Government to reconsider its move to effect the proposed amendments, which in our opinion are clearly not in the public interest.

G25

18 July 2016

The Malay Mail

Malaysia Kini

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