Bar Council Meets A-G over Law Reforms

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Thomas also gave his assurance that he will recuse himself from any case if there is conflict of interest.

Reform agenda:

  • Repeal or abolish laws
  • Reform legal profession
  • Establish comprehensive legal aid scheme

The Bar Council will be assisting the newly-appointed Attorney-General (A-G) in the Government’s law reform agenda, said George Varughese.

The Malaysian Bar president said it was a “fruitful” first meeting between the A-G Tommy Thomas and Malaysian Bar Council representatives on Monday.

Some of the laws that were discussed during the meeting included the Anti-Fake News Act, Sedition Act, Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, and the National Security Council Act, he said.

“We have suggested the repeal or abolition of these Acts,” he said, adding that the proposals had been forwarded to the Institutional Reforms Committee.

“(The A-G) was very particular that there should be consultation from all stakeholders in respect of these law reforms,” he said.

Varughese said that they also discussed suggestions to reform the legal profession, including revamping the Legal Profession Act.

“We have suggested that there should be a holistic revamp of the Legal Profession Act to enhance the independence and autonomy of the Bar,” he said.

“The A-G was agreeable to our proposal and supportive of our suggestion,” he said, adding that Thomas requested for detailed proposals to be submitted later.

Another proposal by the Malaysian Bar, Varughese added, is the establishment of a comprehensive legal aid scheme.

“(This is done by) merging the two government agencies that provide legal aid currently, which are the Legal Aid Department and the National Legal Aid Foundation,” he said.

Varughese said that there should be a unified body to provide Malaysians with better access to legal aid.

Thomas also Varughese his word that he will recuse himself from any case if there is a conflict of interest.

“The A-G has assured us (Bar Council) when it comes to persons he may know when he was in the private practice when a situation of conflict arises, he will immediately recuse himself from whatever issues involving these people.

“The Solicitor-General will then step in in his place as the laws allow him to do so,” he said.