Circular No. 27/16: Johore Bar Forum on The Government’s Proposal to Amend The LPA 1976 (4 Aug 2016)

The Malaysian Bar views with grave concern the Federal Government’s plan to amend the Legal Profession Act 1976 (“the LPA”) in the October sitting of Parliament. If the proposed amendments are passed, they would not only alter the structure and composition of the Bar Council but will also weaken its role and position in the performance of its statutory functions as stipulated in the LPA.

Among the significant amendments being proposed are the following:

(a)     The Bar Council will be reconstituted with every State Bar sending 3 members (as opposed to the present 2) to the Bar Council, consisting of the State Bar Chairman and two Bar Representatives, of which one shall be a member with more than10 years in practice and the other with less than 10 years in practice.

(b)     The Government will have the right to appoint two Members of the Bar to represent its interests in the Bar Council.

(c)     The present system of electing 12 members to the Bar Council by postal ballots by all members of the Malaysian Bar will be abolished.

(d)     The Office Bearers of the Bar Council will be elected by all members of the Malaysian Bar at the Annual General Meeting of the Malaysian Bar and at designated venues in the various states simultaneously.

(e)     The Chairman of the State Bar Committee and the immediate Vice-President of the Malaysian Bar will be ineligible for election as Office Bearers of the Bar Council.

(f)      The quorum for the Annual General Meeting and Extraordinary General Meeting of both the Malaysian Bar and the State Bar to be increased to 25% of the respective membership.

(g)     The Minister in charge of legal affairs shall be empowered to make rules and regulations governing elections of the Malaysian Bar.

The government says that these amendments are necessary to make the Bar Council more representative and inclusive but the Bar feels otherwise. True to its role as prescribed in the LPA, the Malaysian Bar has over the years taken a strong position and spoken out without fear or favour  on various issues touching on the law and the administration of justice in this country. Some of the positions and actions of the Bar may not have gone down too well with the government, which often criticises the Bar as being “pro-opposition.” The general perception is that the government has come up with these amendments with the aim of silencing the Bar and making it more compliant or subservient. In other words, a covert attempt to undermine the independence of the Bar.

Are these amendments necessary and are they in the interest of the Bar? Or are they simply an unsolicited, unnecessary and unwarranted interference in the affairs of the Bar and detrimental to our interest? Come and listen to George Varughese, the Vice-President of the Malaysian Bar, who will speak on the salient features of the proposed amendments and their implication for the Malaysian Bar, details whereof are as follows:

Date Thursday, 4th August 2016
Time 4.30 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.


Level 1, Abdullah A. Rahman Auditorium
Johore Bar Building
No. 5 Jalan Tun Abdul Razak
Susur 1/1 80000 Johor Bahru

These amendments are radical and have far-reaching consequences on the profession. So please mark your diary and come for the Forum without fail to find out more and to share your thoughts with the others. The Forum is open to all Members of the Johore Bar and Pupils-in-Chambers. Refreshments will be served.

See you on 04/08/2016 at 4.30 p.m.


S. Gunasegaran

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