The National Legal Aid Committee (“NLAC”) for the 2011/2012 term is chaired by Ragunath Kesavan. The Deputy Chairpersons are Sulaiman Abdullah and Mureli Navaratnam.
There are 20 members in NLAC. Out of the total members, 14 are outstation members. The Chairperson of each of the state legal aid centres (“LACs”) is a de facto member of NLAC.
NLAC operates on four main objectives:
(1) Provide legal aid to, and increase legal awareness among, the public in accordance with section 42(1)(h) of the Legal Profession Act 1976;(2) Supervise the operation and management of Bar Council State LACs; and(3) Lobby the government on matters pertaining to legal aid and equal access to justice; and(4) Promote the concept that legal aid is a fundamental human right.
NLAC will launch its yearly National Law Awareness Week (“NLAW”) on 2 Nov 2011, in an Orang Asli village called Kampung Ulu Geroh in Gopeng, Perak. The Chief Minister of Perak, YAB Dato’ Seri Dr Zambry b Abd Kadir, will officiate the launch.
Tagged with the theme “Legal Aid — Back to Community”, the NLAW this year will focus on empowering rural communities, including the Orang Asli, with basic legal knowledge.
At present, there are 15 Bar Council LACs in Peninsular Malaysia, with at least one centre in each state. In 2010, with a yearly budget of around RM 1.3 million, the state LACs attended to over 21,500 clients.
In addition to its existing operation, the state LACs will offer services under the Yayasan Bantuan Guaman Kebangsaan (for more information, please access www.ybgk.org.my), tentatively from October 2011 onwards.
As preparation for this, the state LACs are occupied with arranging for the training of volunteer lawyers in each state, opening up of separate bank accounts, setting up of separate telephone line and fax line, and preparing the duty rosters for volunteer lawyers.
At the time of writing this report, each state LACs is organising a state–level workshop to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the state LACs, the future of legal aid in Malaysia, and ways to increase the number of volunteer lawyers.
National Legal Aid Committee
Dated 15 Sept 2011
(1) Ragunath Kesavan (Chairperson)
(2) Sulaiman Abdullah (Co–Deputy Chairperson)
(3) Mureli Navaratnam (Co–Deputy Chairperson)
(4) Aaron Abraham
(5) Abdul Fareed b Abdul Gaffor
(6) Chew Bee Ling, Justine
(7) Jason Kay Kit Leon
(8) Komathi d/o Arunasalam
(9) Kunasegaran s/o Nadasen
(10) Mad Diah b Endut
(11) Mazlan b Md Zain
(12) Mohamad Nor Hisam b Hussain
(13) Mohd Izhan b Razali
(14) Muhammad Hasif b Hasan
(15) Navaneetha Krishnan s/o Muthuvelu Pillay, Chris
(16) Navinder Kaur Jessy
(17) Nurul Aznie bt Ibrahim
(18) Ravinder Singh Dhalliwal
(19) Rusidah bt Hassan
(20) Stephanie Bastian
Officer–in–charge: Adilah Ariffin