KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 – Newly-elected Bar Council president Christopher Leong (pic)said he would engage with all stakeholders, including the judiciary, to find ways to improve the standard of the legal profession. He said the Bar also shared the sentiments expressed by Chief Judge (CJ) of Malaysia Tun Arifin Zakaria who expressed concern over the standard of Bar members, as well the Bench.
“We will be meeting the CJ and his senior officials of the judiciary in finding ways on how to improve ourselves and the judiciary,” he said in a press conference after chairing his first council meeting immediatly after the council’s 67th Annual General Meeting (AGM) at a hotel here today.
He said at today’s AGM, members also expressed their concern that lawyers were not given enough time in making their submissions and in some instances, they were not treated with decorum by the Bench.
“They believe judges should come up with extensive grounds of judgement, especially at the upper courts (apex courts) and not broad reasons since it’s not sufficient when it comes to the salient points of law,” added Leong.
During the press conference, he also announced the council’s three other office-bearers. They are Steven Thiru, former treasurer who has been elected the new vice-president, Richard Wee (secretary) and Karen Cheah Yee Lynn (treasurer). At today’s AGM, the 1,304 members of the Malaysian Bar observed a minute’s silence as a mark of respect to the 10 security forces personnel who were killed during clashes in Sabah, with armed terrorists from southern Philippines.
Touching on the main motion debated by members, Leong said the motion which urged the Bar to probe a senior lawyer involved in drafting the second statutory declaration (SD) related to the murder of Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaariibuu, would be referred to the advocate and solicitor’s disciplinary board (DB) for further action (on the SD).
The Bar Council president pointed out that the council did not have the power to investigate or compel anyone to answer any complaint or allegation, as compared to the DB. He explained that the motion was withdrawn by the mover after being debated for nearly 90 minutes which ended with explanation from council members that the inquiry on the matter was at the tail-end and would be referred to the DB.
“After what was revealed at the AGM today, and previous statements by the lawyer and a businessman for the past few months, it is proper for the DB to investigate further on the possibility of professional misconduct of the senior lawyer implicated with the second SD,” stressed Leong.