MALAYSIAN LAWYERS' STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE
PERJUANGAN PEGUAM DI MALAYSIA
"REPEAL SECTION 46A
LEGAL PROFESSION ACT, 1976"
LEGAL PROFESSION ACT, 1976"
(i). Persons who are less than 7 years standing in the Bar;
(ii). Members of Parliament or State legislatures;
(iii). Persons who hold office in any trade union, political party or any organisation which has objectives or carries on activities which can be construed as political or declared so by the Attorney-General.
8. At the end of 1978, ESCAR was declared ultra vires by the Privy Council. It was resurrected subsequently as an Act of Parliament.
9. In a stronger resolution passed on 23 March 2002, the Malaysian Bar affirmed the 1978 Resolution and directing the Bar Council to immediately take steps to call for and campaign for the repeal of sections 46A and other amendments introduced by the Legal Profession (Amendment) Bill, 1977 which affects the independence of the Bar and hinder the ability of the Bar to govern itself.
10. By virtue of section 46A, the Malaysian Bar lost some its independence especially when it came to the choosing of its leaders. By keeping out young lawyers from the leadership of the Malaysian Bar, the government hoped to silence the Malaysian Bar and suppress its purpose of upholding the cause of justice without fear or favour. Section 46A, which excluded "young lawyers" from the leadership of the Malaysian Bar, indirectly branded senior lawyers as being "less progressive", "less radical" and as being persons less likely to take up the cause of justice without fear or favour.
11. But alas young lawyers, although not able to be in the Bar Council, State Bar Committees and/or its various committees have over the years still continued to stand up for the cause of justice without fear or favour. The more recent examples are:-
- a. In 1998 100s of young lawyers came forward to assist and
represent the hundreds of Malaysians arrested when they exercised their
freedom of expression and opinion through peaceful assemblies in the
streets of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. The lawyers were there at the
Police Stations and the Police Training Centre(PULAPOL) where 100s ofd
those arrested were taken. The young lawyers also during this
represented these persons in over 600 remand hearings, some of which
lasted long in the wee mornings, one in Pulapol lasted until about
3.00am the following day. These young lawyers also did come out and
represent these persons in some of largest trials in Malaysia where in
one case it involved over 200 accused persons in a joint trial. These
trials of course were overshadowed by the more publicised Anwar Ibrahim
b. In 1999 about 100 over lawyers marched to Federal Court building in solidarity and support for a senior lawyer who was being cited for contempt for actions done as lawyer representing his client in court.
c. When a young Chinese lawyer was harassed by the police in Petaling Jaya, it was again the young lawyers that initiated a signature campaign and handed a memorandum of protest to the Officer in charge of the Police District of Petaling Jaya.
d. When hundred's of persons with Indonesian accent were arrested in connection with a killing of a police officer in Johor, again it was a team of young lawyers who rushed down to offer their free legal service
e. On 17th August 2001, a majority of the members of the then Bar Council decided to oppose an application by a lawyer, Sivarasa Rasiah (an elected member of the Bar Council and Vice-President of Parti Rakyat Malaysia), for declarations that the disqualifications introduced by section 46A of the Legal Profession Act are not valid on the basis that, inter alia, they violate freedom of association provided by Article 10 of the Federal Constitution. On 13th September 2001, 75 lawyers, most of whom were young lawyers, requisitioned for a General Meeting of the Malaysian Bar.
13. At the Bar Council's 1st National Young Lawyers' Convention in Cherating, Kuantan, on 6th April 2003, a call was again made by the 200 young lawyers who attended the convention for the repeal of section 46A. These Young Lawyers also called on the Malaysian Bar, the Bar Council and all State Bar Committees to disregard the restrictions of the section 46A and to admit young lawyers into the committees of the Malaysian Bar and the State Bars. This call was made on the basis that unjust or unfair, arbitrary laws should not be obeyed or followed. In other words, "civil disobedience". Sadly, the Bar Council does not endorse that part of the resolution that called for the ignoring of section 46A and the admittance of young lawyers into the Bar Council and its committees.
14. On 5th September 2003, the Young Lawyers are launching a nationwide campaign for the "REPEAL SECTION 46A LEGAL PROFESSION ACT, 1976"
- Society For Christian Reflection
MALAYSIAN BAR'S NATIONWIDE ROADSHOW ON THE HISTORY AND STRUGGLES OF THE BAR KUALA LUMPUR BAR LAUNCH ON 5 SEPTEMBER 2003
"REPEAL SECTION 46A LEGAL PROFESSION ACT, 1976"