Legal aid shrinking due to delayed payments, Malaysian Bar report says

Source: The Malay Mail Online

MMO infographic

MMO infographic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — Fewer people are getting free legal aid and fewer lawyers are providing such services due to delays in payments in a government-backed scheme, the Malaysian Bar’s annual report said.

In the report presented at the Malaysian Bar’s 71st annual general meeting today, it acknowledged the National Legal Aid Foundation (YBGK) —which is jointly coordinated by the Bar Council and government — was facing issues in making timely payments to lawyers providing counsel under the scheme.

“For a variety of reasons, payments to YBGK lawyers began to slow down from November 2015,” the Bar Council’s National Legal Aid Committee said in its report that was sighted by Malay Mail Online.

“The delay in payments to YBGK lawyers caused immense difficulties for the lawyers, and led to great dissatisfaction and a decrease in the number of lawyers prepared to take on new YBGK work.” Read more

Bar groups reject PM’s role in judicial appointments

Source: FMT News

JAC must be absolutely free of executive influence, says Malaysian Bar president.

Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 23, 2016.

Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 23, 2016.

PUTRAJAYA: The three bar associations in Malaysia have declared that they reject the current practice of giving the prime minister a say in the appointment and promotion of judges, according to Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru.

In a speech at the ceremonial opening of the new legal year, Thiru said the Malaysian Bar, the Sabah Law Association and the Advocates’ Association of Sarawak were in fact in agreement that the executive branch of government should have no part at all in the process.

He said the present system placed inordinate powers in the hands of the prime minister, who could veto without justification the recommendations of the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC).

“While the executive is entitled to express its views, the final recommendation to the Conference of Rulers should emanate only from the JAC,” he added.

He said the exclusion of the prime minister from the process would remove any concern that appointments and promotions were prejudiced and candidates were rejected because they were not favoured by the executive. Read more