Azalina: Govt should not interfere with Malaysian Bar

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Source: The Star

THERE should not be government interference in the Malaysian Bar.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said the proposal to have two government representatives in the Bar was highly unacceptable among legal practitioners.

“It is not appropriate for the Government to interfere with professional bodies such as the Bar or any other professional bodies.

“Such bodies should be supervised by their own members,” she said when wrapping up the debate on the Advocates Ordinance (Sabah) (Amendment) Bill.

Azalina said that supervision free of government interference would help legal practitioners take their profession to a higher level.

Azalina, who is a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of law, said she had held meetings with Malaysian Bar representatives who gave their views on the proposed amendments to the Legal Profession Act.

Among the proposals were the setting up of a common Bar examination, etiquette training for chambering students, chambering training and legal advertisement.

“I will be tabling the proposal to the Cabinet. If approved, a committee will be set up to implement an action plan,” she said, adding that the proposal mainly involved “bread and butter” issues.

The Government tabled a Bill proposing the minister in charge of legal affairs appoint two government representatives to the Bar Council to change its election process and composition as well as to increase the required quorum for the Bar’s general meetings.

The proposal was not received well with Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru, claiming it was an unwarranted interference in the management of the Malaysian Bar.

Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has also opposed it.